New Delhi: Rebuffed by the Supreme Court in their quest for a quick verdict on the Ayodhya matter, the Bharatiya Janata Party and various Sangh Parivar outfits have stepped up their demand for an ordinance to push through the construction of a Ram Temple at the disputed Babri Masjid site even as the Congress has called for restraint and said the court’s verdict should be waited for without linking the issue with vote bank politics.
Soon after the Supreme Court said on Monday that the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute cases would be heard by an appropriate bench only in the first week of January 2019, voices emerged within the BJP favouring early construction of the temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya.
BJP leader Vinay Katiyar alleged that the issue was being delayed “under pressure” from the Congress, a charge which also appeared to question the impartiality of the Supreme Court in the matter.
“The decision is being delayed under pressure from the Congress. People like Kapil Sibal and Prashant Bhushan are pressing for delaying the issue. Till when will Ram bhakts (devotees) wait? In 2019, the Congress will come to know,” he said.
His party colleague Sanjeev Baliyan said, “I am surprised at the priorities of the court. I am of the view that the Ram Temple should be constructed. The government should explore all possibilities.”
BJP MP Subramanian Swamy pitched for an ordinance to force the matter out of the court’s hands.
#NewsAlert — I’ll raise it in the Parliament session. We should bring in an Ordinance proclaiming a law, which says that the 2.67 acres of land be given to Hindu organisation, says @Swamy39. | #AyodhyaHearing pic.twitter.com/bwfAntftlq
— News18 (@CNNnews18) October 29, 2018
BJP’s ally Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said the Ram temple is an issue of faith and demanded that the government comes out with an ordinance soon.
“It is a matter of faith. The court cannot decide on this. The government should bring an ordinance,” he said.
Uttar Pradesh’s deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya said, “I don’t want to comment since it’s the decision of Supreme Court. However, the adjournment of hearing doesn’t send a good message.”
Senior Congress leader P. Chidambaram, however, said it was a familiar story every five years before the elections when the BJP tries to polarise people over the issue.
“The Congress’s stated position is that the matter is before the Supreme Court and everyone should wait until the Supreme Court decides… We should not jump the gun,” he told reporters.
To a question on the possibility of an ordinance for the construction of the temple, he said the ordinance has to be decided by the government and not by parliament.
“If someone asks for an ordinance, the prime minister has to respond to them, but as you know, he will not respond to any issue,” he said.
Another Congress leader, Anand Sharma, said, “Everyone should patiently wait for the Supreme Court verdict. Congress party has stated that it will welcome and accept the Supreme Court verdict.”
He said religion is a matter of faith and linking this issue to the vote bank politics will be a disservice to the nation.
All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul Muslimeen (AIMIM) leader Asaddudin Owaisi dared the government to bring an ordinance, saying the BJP refers to the Ram Temple again and again.
“If they have the courage, they should bring an Ordinance on Ram Temple construction. They are trying to scare us about bringing an Ordinance, why don’t they bring it,” he said.
Why don’t they bring it (ordinance on Ram temple)? Let them do it. Every time they are threatening that they will bring an ordinance. Every Tom, Dick & Harry of BJP, RSS, VHP says this. Do it. You are in power. I challenge you to do it. Let us see: Asaduddin Owaisi, AIMIM pic.twitter.com/XXXG4xQLtE
— ANI (@ANI) October 29, 2018
Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) working president Alok Kumar said Hindus cannot wait “eternally” for a court judgment on the Ayodhya land dispute case and asked the government to bring a law for building a Ram temple.
He urged the Narendra Modi government to bring a legislation in the winter session of Parliament.
“The Supreme Court has once again adjourned the hearing. This fortifies the VHP’s stand that the solution to the Ram Janambhoomi issue is not in eternally waiting for hearing of appeals pending for over seven years.
“We reiterate our request to the Union government to enact a law to clear the way for building a grand temple of Lord Ram at his birthplace in Ayodhya,” Kumar said.
On allegations by some BJP leaders that the delay was under pressure from some Congress leaders, Chidambaram said, “The Supreme Court will decide when to hear the case. We don’t decide when the court will hear the case.”
The VHP has called a two-day ‘Dharam Sansad’, a meeting of seers, on January 31 and February 1 next year to discuss the Ram temple issue. This will be held on the sidelines of the Kumbh Mela in Allahabad.
Earlier this month, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat had also favoured a law to enable construction of the Ram temple, saying it was necessary for “self-esteem” and to usher in an “atmosphere of goodwill and oneness”.
A three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, said on Monday that an appropriate bench will decide the future course of hearing in January next year on the appeals filed against the Allahabad high court verdict in the Ayodhya land dispute case.
“We will fix the date of hearing of the Ayodhya dispute case before the appropriate bench in January,” said the bench, which also comprised Justices S.K. Kaul and K.M. Joseph.
Earlier, a three-judge bench, by a 2:1 majority, had refused to refer to a five-judge constitution bench the issue of reconsideration of the observations in its 1994 judgement that a mosque was not integral to Islam. The matter had arisen during the hearing of the Ayodhya land dispute.
An apex court bench headed by then Chief Justice Dipak Misra said the civil suit has to be decided on the basis of evidence, adding that the previous verdict has no relevance to this issue.
CPI leader D. Raja said the matter is sub judice but the BJP leaders are making statements regarding the temple construction through ordinance route.
“We are not an autocratic system, democratic institutions should take cognisance of these kinds of statements,” he said.
Raja’s party colleague Sudhakar Reddy said the CPI is against “ordinance-raj” and the government should wait for the court judgement.
“We will abide by the court decision on the issue,” he said.
(With PTI inputs)