Ram temple wasn't and will never be poll issue'

TNN Bureau. Updated: 4/13/2024 3:12:01 AM Front Page

Udhampur : In a scathing attack on the INDIA opposition bloc for claiming that the Ram temple in Ayodhya is a "poll plank" for the BJP, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said it is a matter of faith for the people of the country.
He compared the mindset of the Congress and its allies with that of the Mughals, who he said used to derive pleasure from vandalising temples, and accused them of teasing the majority community by displaying videos of consuming meat during the month of Sawan to consolidate their vote banks.
"You must have seen how the Congress hates the Ram temple. The Congress and its entire ecosystem start screaming if there is even a reference to the temple. They say the Ram temple is an election issue for the BJP. It was never an election issue and will never be an election issue," the prime minister said at a mega public rally here in Jammu and Kashmir.
Amid tight security arrangements, Modi hit the campaign trail in Udhampur for Union minister Jitendra Singh, who is seeking re-election for a third consecutive time from the Udhampur seat in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.
Modi pointed out that the Ram temple movement started when the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was not even born. "It was an issue at a time when the British were yet to come. It is a 500-year-old matter when there was no thought of elections," he said.
Taking a dig at the Congress for declining the invitation to the consecration ceremony of the temple, Modi said, "What kind of an election game was it that you declined the invite to this holy function? It is an election issue for the Congress and the INDIA bloc, whereas it is a matter of devotion and faith for the country's people," he added.
The prime minister said the temple was a victory of tolerance.
"It was a victory after a long wait of 500 years. When foreign invaders vandalised temples, the people of India fought to protect their religious places. They faced the worst situations for protecting their faith," he said.
Taking a dig at the leaders of the Congress and its allies, who he said were living in huge bungalows when Ram Lalla was living in a tent, Modi said people used to run from pillar to post to get the tent changed during rains, only to be threatened with court cases.
"This was an assault on the faith of crores of people who considered Ram as the prime deity for worship. We had told these people that one day, Ram will return to his temple. Do not forget three things -- one, this is a reality now after 500 years of fighting. Do you agree? Secondly, it has been done through a full process of the judiciary. It has been vetted by a court judgment and its justice delivery system. Thirdly, the people of India have contributed every penny for the construction of the temple, not the government," he said.
Modi said the trustees of the temple, after forgiving the opposition leaders for the sins committed by them against those batting for the shrine, invited them by going to their houses, but "they declined the invitation".
"I want to ask the Congress that when you were speaking against it day in and day out, as part of which election issue were you doing so? Every devotee of Lord Ram has seen your arrogance when you ignored the biggest event to which crores of people were attached," the prime minister said.
He claimed that declining the invitation was the election game plan of these parties. "What type of compulsion was this that you said Ram was imaginary? Which vote bank were you catering to? The Congress and the INDIA bloc do not care about the majority of the country's people. They feel happy to insult their feelings," Modi said.
Referring to some leaders consuming meat in the month of Sawan and making its video viral, Modi said, "In the month of Sawan, they went to the house of a person who was handed a punishment by a court and is on bail and cherished the taste of mutton. They made a video of it to tease the people of the country."
"During the month of Sawan, a person who was convicted, who is on bail, someone went to this kind of a criminal.... During Sawan, they enjoyed eating mutton. Not just this, they made a video and worked to tease the people of India," he said, referring to Congress leader Rahul Gandhi's visit to RJD supremo Lalu Prasad's house.
Modi said neither any law nor him prevents anyone from eating anything.
"Everyone is free to eat vegetarian or non-vegetarian food. But they had different intentions. The Mughals used to get satisfaction by vandalising temples, not by defeating kings. They used to derive pleasure out of it.
"Likewise, they tease the people of the country by releasing such videos in the month of Sawan and consolidate their vote banks," the prime minister alleged.
He said during Navratri, eating non-vegetarian food and highlighting it hurt the feelings of people. "These people will resort to abusing me and targeting me for saying this. But when it is beyond the point of tolerance, it is my duty in a democracy to tell the right things to people. That is my job. I am fulfilling my duty," he said.
Modi accused these leaders of deliberately indulging in such acts "so that a big section of people gets annoyed".
"They have a Mughal mindset. They do not know that when the public gives a fitting reply, the princes of big dynasties get sidelined. Dynastic parties and corruption-ridden people should not be given opportunities," he said.


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