Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray today praised the Supreme Court verdict on the Ayodhya dispute paving way for the construction of a Ram temple in the holy town as a "red letter day" in the history of India.
Mr Thackeray, whose party is locked in a bitter dispute with ally BJP over formation of government in Maharashtra on the issue of sharing the post of chief minister, also announced that he might visit Ayodhya on November 24.
Addressing a press conference, Mr Thackeray said the verdict has formally ended the dispute over the birthplace of Lord Ram.
"Everyone has accepted the verdict given by the Supreme Court. I appeal to Shiv sainiks to celebrate the verdict without hurting anybody's sentiments," Mr Thackeray said.
He said he remembers his father and Sena founder Balasaheb Thackeray, VHP leader late Ashok Singhal, BJP's Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Pramod Mahajan and LK Advani who led the Ram Janmabhoomi movement in the 1990s.
"I visited Ayodhya on November 24 last year and offered prayers. I also participated in an aarti on the banks of river Sarayu there. I had then taken along with me soil from the Shivneri fort, the birthplace of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, and prayed for a miracle to ensure construction of a Ram temple. I am happy that the miracle happened within a year," Mr Thackeray said.
Referring to the top court verdict, he said one chapter has closed and it is pertinent for all to make a beginning.
"If everyone shows understanding and maturity like today, our country will be a superpower," he said, referring to the ground situation in view of the verdict.
Mr Thackeray said he would visit LK Advani, who had undertaken a rath yatra. "It (Ram Janmabhoomi movement) was a big agitation. Some people are not with us now. Some have lost their lives in the agitation. I salute them all," Mr Thackeray added.
The BJP and the Shiv Sena have failed to form government despite having a majority of 161 MLAs in the 288-member assembly, even though the term of the current assembly ended today.