Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray will visit Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh after Dussehra, senior party leader Sanjay Raut said today, before criticising senior ally BJP over the Ram temple issue.
Mr Thackeray will announce the date of his visit during the party's annual Dussehra rally to be held in Mumbai on October 19, the Rajya Sabha lawmaker told news agency PTI.
"The Sena has always championed the cause of Ram temple in Ayodhya. The BJP, despite being in power for four years, has not yet fulfilled its commitment of building a grand Ram temple there," he said.
Mr Thackeray met Ram Janmabhoomi trust chief Janmejay Sharanji Maharaj at the party's headquarters Sena Bhawan in Mumbai yesterday evening, party sources said.
Sharanji Maharaj invited Mr Thackeray to visit Ayodhya and told him that the trust needed the Shiv Sena's assistance in the construction of Ram temple, they said, according to news agency PTI.
Senior Sena leader Arvind Sawant pointed out that before the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, the NDA had given three assurances to people -- to abrogate Article 370 of the Constitution, construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya and to solve the Kashmir issue.
Article 370 of the Indian Constitution accords special status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
"We are not doing something which we haven't spoken of earlier. When nobody took responsibility of the Babri Masjid demolition, (Shiv Sena founder) Balasaheb did so. Now four-and-a-half years have passed (since NDA came to power) but the construction of Ram temple has still not begun and the issue is pending in court," Mr Sawant said.
"The Sena will stand for the issue," said the Lok Sabha lawmaker from Mumbai South constituency.
The Uddhav Thackeray-led party is a constituent of the BJP-led NDA governments at the Centre and in Maharashtra.
The Sena, which has resolved to go solo in the future elections, has often targeted the BJP for "delaying" the construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya despite having a majority.
Mr Thackeray had recently said the BJP would once again rake up the emotive issue in the run-up to the 2019 polls.