New Delhi: Even as the row over forced religious conversions continues to ignite passions, Uttar Pradesh Governor Ram Naik on Friday stirred a hornet's nest by saying that a Ram temple should be built at the site of the demolished Babri Masjid in Ayodhya as per the "wishes of the people of India".
Backing the UP Governor, the Bharatiya Janata Party, Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh and the Shiv Sena said that there is nothing wrong in his remark. "Everybody wants to get the Ram temple constructed at his (Ram) birth land. Having this wish is not wrong," BJP leader Vijay Bahadur said.
Shiv Sena also echoed the sentiment and extended its support to the Governor. "There is nothing wrong in his statement. Naik was active during the Ram Mandir movement. Now we have chance to build a Ram temple, it is a national temple," RSS leader Sanjay Raut said.
"His statement is not unconstitutional. It's a long pending promise that we have made to the people of this country and hence must be fulfilled," Shiv Sena MP Arvind Sawant added.
While he got support from saffron parties, opposition parties including the Congress, Janata Dal United, Nationalist Congress Party, Samajwadi Party among others strongly criticised Naik's comment.
"This is an objectionable issue to demand the construction of Ram Temple by the person sitting on the position of governor," NCP leader Tariq Anwar said.
The JDU even went ahead and demanded the Governor's resignation over the matter. "We will request the President of India to remove the Governor of Uttar Pradesh as he has violated the Constitution," JDU leader KC Tyagi said.
"Even if it is his personal comment then he should not make such comments because he is not a RSS member or a BJP member but governor of UP," Samajwadi Party leader Naresh Agrawal said.
Naik during a convocation programme of Awadh University at Faizabad had said, "Ram Mandir should be built as soon as possible. That is the wish of the Indian citizens and the wish should be fulfilled."