Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray and 18 newly elected parliamentarians from the party are likely to visit Ayodhya, which is in the news over the Ram temple dispute, before the monsoon session of the Lok Sabha begins later this month.
Shiv Sena media in-charge Harshal Pradhan confirmed to news agency PTI that such a plan was under consideration. "The idea is to visit it before the start of the parliament session on June 17. Uddhavji will elaborate on the visit as well as the party's stand on the matter soon," he said.
Uddhav Thackeray, an active proponent of constructing the Ram temple at the site where the 14th Century Babri Masjid once stood, had last visited Ayodhya in November for a mega-event organised by several Hindu groups. The regional party's alliance with the BJP was under strain then, and it had factored in his speech at the event.
The Shiv Sena chief was particularly critical of the Narendra Modi-led central government over the delay in constructing the Ram temple. "If it can demonetise currency notes instantly, why can't it build the temple? Now tell me the date," he had demanded.
Uddhav Thackeray even compared the central government to Kumbhakaran, a villainous character from the Ramayan known for sleeping six months at a stretch, to attack the centre over the "delay" in building the structure. "Kumbhakaran used to sleep for six months, but today's Kumbhakaran has been sleeping for the last four years. I want it to wake up and build the Ram temple," he said.
Things, however, changed after the BJP agreed to a 50-50 seat sharing deal with Uddhav Thackeray's party in Maharashtra. Their differences buried, the alliance went on to win 41 of the 48 Lok Sabha seats in the general elections, with the Shiv Sena alone making an impressive haul of 18.
A week after the election results were announced, the Shiv Sena said in a Saamna article that Prime Minister Narendra Modi's massive victory was also the people's mandate in favour of the Ram temple. "A party with the mindset of Lord Ram has come to power at the centre. Crores of people have voted them to power so that Ram Rajya can be established in the country," it read.
Right-wing activists demolished the Babri Masjid on December 6, 1992.
(With inputs from PTI)