The Shiv Sena today repeated its pitch for a Ram temple in Ayodhya, arguing that if the temple cannot be built when the BJP has full majority in parliament, it may never happen. The temple construction, senior party leader Sanjay Raut told NDTV, should happen before this year's general elections.
"The BJP has cheated India," Mr Raut told NDTV. "For a long time now, we have been asking people to vote for us in the name of the Ram temple. The construction of the temple should start before 2019 polls, so people can stop playing religious politics."
The comment was a jab at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who, in his New Year interview, had said the government was waiting for the legal process to end. Accusing the Congress of delaying the process, PM Modi said, "Let the judicial process be over. After the judicial process is over, whatever be our responsibility as government, we are ready to make all efforts."
The Ayodhya title suit is pending in the Supreme Court, which is expected to name the date for the hearing tomorrow. The Sena, along with a section in the BJP and right-wing groups, want the government to bypass the legal process through an Ordinance or executive order.
Earlier today, the party's mouthpiece -- Saamna -- had questioned the Prime Minister's plans to build the temple.
"He came to power in the name of Lord Ram, but now he says that Lord Ram is not greater than the law. The question now is -- if the temple cannot be constructed in the majority government, when will it ever be?" read an editorial in Saamna.
Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray has asked the BJP to clear its stand on the temple issue and demanded a discussion in parliament. He has also launched the party's own programme to push for the temple. He has already held a meeting in Ayodhya. His next stop, he has said, would be Varanasi, the Lok Sabha constituency of PM Modi.