In an editorial in its mouthpiece Saamana, the Shiv Sena on Thursday asked its ally, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), to build the contentious Ram Mandir in Ayodhya once and for all instead of continuing to use the issue for political mileage.
“There has been plenty of politics over the Ram Mandir issue. Now, decide once and for how long you want to go on politicising it. The BJP has its own complete majority with 280 MPs. There are other parties along with Shiv Sena for support. So if the temple cannot be built today, it will never be built,” reads the editorial.
The party’s comments have come on the heels of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent visit to Uttar Pradesh on Dussehra, where he began his address at the Aishbagh Ramlila in Lucknow with ‘Jai Shree Ram.’ Political rivals have been interpreting this as the BJP’s strategy to rake up the Ram temple issue and consolidate Hindu votes ahead of the legislative assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh.
“Don’t just raise slogans, start picking up bricks,” the Shiv Sena taunted, adding that the Uttar Pradesh elections are a life-and-death situation for the BJP, with Modi’s own constituency there.
Soon after being elected from Varanasi, Modi performed the ‘Ganga Aarti’ in Uttar Pradesh where several people asked him when the Ram temple in Ayodhya waslikely to be built, however, he didn’t give them a clear answer then, the editorial read.
“At that time, the environment was charged with the BJP’s Lok Sabha victory and the assembly polls were not close,” the party said.
The Shiv Sena added that it seems as if the BJP is plotting to establish itself with the help of Hindu votes by promising to build the temple if it comes to power, whether or not the temple is actually built.
The Shiv Sena is looking to expand its presence in Uttar Pradesh by deciding to contest nearly six times the number of seats that the party had contested in 2012. It will contest 200 seats, nearly half the total seats in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly.