- Raja Singh is the BJP legislator from Hyderabad's Gosha Mahal
- Ram Mandir cannot be built "without consensus": BJP spokesperson
- Exploring all constitutional options for the construction of temple: BJP
Raja Singh, 38, legislator and the BJP's chief whip in Telangana, had sailed into the issue - one of the most controversial and divisive in 25 years -- on Ram Navami, the birthday of Lord Ram which the BJP had celebrated on a grand scale.
In a video he uploaded on Facebook, Mr Singh is seen addressing his supporters. "To those who warn of dire consequences if Ram Mandir is built, we were waiting for you to say this so we can behead you," he is heard saying, to huge cheers.
In the speech, he referred to another video circulated on Whatsapp, in which some All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul Muslimeen or AIMIM leaders allegedly said they would create a ruckus in the country if the temple was built in Ayodhya.
"Does anyone have the audacity to stop the construction of Ram Temple? Let me see. If anyone that brave is born to challenge the construction of Ram Temple, I will behead you," the legislator from Hyderabad's Gosha Mahal is heard saying. Asked later, Mr Singh reiterated his stand. "For the construction of Ram temple, we can lay down our lives and we can take the lives of others too," he said.
Emphasising that the Ram Mandir cannot be built "without consensus," BJP spokesperson Shaina NC said, "Let me please say that our PM has said on record that those people who choose to be moral custodians of the society will have no place in the elected democratic society". Asked if any action will be taken against the legislator, she said, "It is for our party president to take a decision".
Last month, Chief Justice of India JS Khehar had said the Ayodhya temple is a "sensitive" and "sentimental issue" and should be sorted outside court through discussions. A number of BJP leaders - from Yogi Adityanath to Uma Bharati and Mahesh Sharma - had welcomed the order.
Asaduddin Owaisi, the chief of AIMIM, however, had tweeted:
Please remember Babri Masjid case is about Title which Allahabad court wrongly decided as a Partnership case hence the Appeal in Apex court— Asaduddin Owaisi (@asadowaisi) March 21, 2017
The BJP has already said it is committed to exploring all constitutional options to ensure that the temple is built in Ayodhya. Ahead of the elections in Uttar Pradesh, party chief Amit Shah had said there was no contradiction between the temple issue and development, his party's primary poll plank, and they can "co-exist".
Zafaryab Gilani, the Convener of Babri Masjid Action Committee, had however, been unsure. "We wish to inform the court that private negotiations are not possible... For the last 31 years, we have been trying. If the Chief Justice nominates some bench to intervene, that could happen," he had said.