Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Tuesday said the Congress always "opposed" the construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya because it believed in "dividing the country" and never wanted the issue to be resolved.
Addressing a rally at Rajnandgaon in poll-bound Chhattisgarh, the BJP leader also took a swipe at Congress president Rahul Gandhi over his visit to temples in the states that are going to polls.
The rally was held after Chief Minister Raman Singh filed his nomination papers for the state Assembly polls, scheduled to be held in two phases on November 12 and 20, from Rajnandgaon seat, 77 km from state capital Raipur.
"People have their own emotions and sentiments on Ram janmabhoomi (birth place of Lord Ram in Ayodhya). I have always maintained that public sentiments on the issue should be respected. The fight for Ayodhya is not from today but the mammoth 'Hindu Samaj' has been fighting for the cause from around 450 years," Yogi Adityanath said.
He said the site in Ayodhya where 'Ram Lalla' (Infant Ram) is present is the only birth place of Lord Ram and no one should have any doubt about it.
Yogi Adityanath also panned the Congress over senior leader Kapil Sibal's submission in the Supreme Court last December to defer the hearing on the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute till the 2019 Lok Sabha polls get over. Mr Sibal was appearing for the Sunni Waqf Board in the Ayodhya title suit.
"What action has Rahul Gandhi taken against Sibal for trying to create all sorts of impediments to delay a time-bound decision on the issue," Yogi Adityanath asked.
"I want to say that the Congress has always opposed (building the temple at) Ram Janmabhoomi. It never wanted the dispute to be resolved because the party has not done any development and always believed in dividing the country," the UP chief minister alleged.
Accusing the Congress of indulging in "appeasement politics", he said the party had "destroyed the social fabric and divided the people on the basis of caste, language and region".
"Due to wrong polices of the Congress the country had to face riots and flourishing insurgency," he said.
Yogi Adityanath claimed Maoism, terrorism and separatism were the results of the "sins" of the Congress.
Hitting out at Mr Gandhi for visiting temples in different states ahead of assembly elections, he claimed this "temple run" had proved wrong his great grandfather Jawaharlal Nehru's description of himself as an "accidental Hindu".
"The Congress chief has proved wrong the statement made by his forefather Pt Jawaharlal Nehru (first prime minister of India) who had described himself as an accidenta Hindu.
"Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru had once remarked that he is an 'accidental Hindu'. However, his fourth generation heir has learned the tradition of visiting temples. We should consider now that the fourth generation of Pt Nehru has proved him wrong," he said.
Yogi Adityanath said some people did not like the development of India.
"Such people don't like the dream of 'Ek Bharat, Shrestha Bharat, Ubharta Bharat and Samriddh Bharat' which is the aim of Prime Minister Narendra Modi," he said.
"These are the people who talk about freedom of Kashmir when they visit Jammu and Kashmir whereas when they come to Chhattisgarh they look for temples," he said.
Chhattisgarh has been ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) since the last 15 years under Chief Minister Raman Singh who is seeking the fourth straight term in current polls.
Yogi Adityanath also alleged that despite the Supreme Court's instructions in the past the Congress never implemented the National Register for Citizens (NRC), which allowed terrorism to flourish.
"After the BJP came to power, it implemented the NRC in Assam and identified infiltrators. We will not allow infiltrators to stay and will drive them out to ensure security of the country," he said.
Notably, the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat had last week said in Nagpur that construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya was necessary for "self esteem".
The RSS is the ideological mentor of the BJP.