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Shiv Sena MP Says 'Want to Remind BJP of Its Pre-Poll Promise' as Ayodhya Turns Into a Fortress

Shiv Sena is pushing for construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya because it was promised by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ahead of elections, says a party lawmaker.

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Updated:November 24, 2018, 8:03 AM IST
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Shiv Sena MP Says 'Want to Remind BJP of Its Pre-Poll Promise' as Ayodhya Turns Into a Fortress
Shiv Sena members demand construction of Ram Temple in Ayodhya
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Mumbai: As Ayodhya turns into a fortress ahead of Uddhav Thackeray's visit on Saturday, Shiv Sena MP Arvind Sawant has said that his party is pushing for construction of a Ram temple in the city because it was promised by the BJP ahead of elections.

Speaking to a news channel on-board a flight to Uttar Pradesh, he said people of the country were promised that a Ram temple will be constructed in Ayodhya once the BJP comes to power at the Centre. "We have promised to the people of the country that once we come to power Ram mandir will be constructed at Ayodhya," Sawant said. "We are forgetting that promise. Therefore, Uddhav ji has taken this initiative. We have given the slogan 'Har Hindu ki yahi pukaar, pehle mandir phir sarkar'," he added.

Thackeray will visit Ayodhya amid a clamour among Hindu outfits for bringing an ordinance to build Ram Temple.

A Sena functionary, requesting anonymity, said the district administration in Ayodhya has denied permission to Thackeray to hold a rally on November 25 in the holy town of Uttar Pradesh. "Uddhav ji will perform an evening maha aarti on the banks of river Sarayu on November 24 and the next day will visit the site of Ram temple in Ayodhya," he said.

The local administration has imposed CrPC section 144 in Ayodhya, restricting assembly of people, he said.

Twelve Vibhag Pramukhs/Vibhag Sanghataks (office-bearers) of the party have been tasked with organising "maha aartis" (grand prayers) simultaneously at 6 pm Saturday at several temples in Mumbai to coincide with Thackeray's Ayodhya visit.

A large contingent of police force, including the Border Security Force (BSF), Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and Rapid Action Force (RAF), has been deployed in the temple town along with 70 companies of the Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC), Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) and 4,000 personnel of civil police to maintain law and order.

"The police force deployed in Ayodhya has been directed to remain on high alert. The entire district has been divided into eight zones and 16 sectors to strengthen security," Hindustan Times quoted a senior officer said.

A day before its first ever show of strength in Ayodhya, Shiv Sena claimed that more than 400 members of Parliament cutting across party lines will support ordinance for the construction of Ram temple.

"The Babri mosque was demolished in 17 minutes...How long does it take to prepare papers... to bring ordinance... from the Rashtrapati Bhawan to Uttar Pradesh assembly...They are all BJP governments," Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut said.

Meanwhile, former Sena MLC Ghanshyam Dube said before expanding its base in North India, the Sena should make Hindi- speaking people living in Mumbai feel safe. Speaking to reporters in Vidhan Bhavan on Thursday, he disclosed Sena founder Bal Thackeray had confided in him that he wanted to expand the Sena's support base in North India.

"However, after that the Sena leadership, for some strange reasons, did not trust me to do the job. Before the Ayodhya visit, the Sena should have first tried to make the North Indian community feel at home whose generations have lived here," Dube said.

According to a senior BJP minister in Maharashtra,the Sena is waiting for the results of assembly polls in three BJP-ruled states of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh before taking a decision on continuing in the NDA. The results will be announced on December 11.

(With inputs from PTI)
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