Opposition will run bulldozer over Ram temple if voted to power, claims PM Narendra Modi

The Samajwadi Party and the Congress will “run a bulldozer” over the Ram temple in Ayodhya if their Opposition alliance is voted to power, Prime Minister Narendra Modi claimed on Friday.

At an election rally in Uttar Pradesh’s Barabanki, Modi also said that the Opposition parties should learn from Chief Minister Adityanath about how to use bulldozers.

“If SP [Samajwadi Party] and Congress come to power, Ram Lalla will be in a tent again and they will run a bulldozer on Ram temple,” Modi claimed. “They should take tuition from Yogi ji [Chief Minister Adityanath], where to run a bulldozer and where you shouldn’t.”

The Samajwadi Party and the Congress are part of the Opposition INDIA bloc and are contesting the Lok Sabha elections in Uttar Pradesh in an alliance.

Modi was referring to the growing trend in recent years of civic authorities in Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled states, especially Uttar Pradesh, demolishing ostensibly illegal properties of those accused of a crime, mostly Muslims. There are no provisions in law that provide for demolishing property as a punitive measure.

Modi on Friday was reiterating the claim he first made at a rally in Madhya Pradesh on May 7.

His claim was dismissed by Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on May 9, who told reporters that the prime minister was speaking “absolute lies”.

“The Congress party had said a number of times that it will honour the judgement of the court,” she told reporters. “We have done this [in the past], and will do so in the future.”

Also read: Why isn’t India’s judiciary acting to stop the spate of illegal demolitions across the country?

However, in an interview to News18 on May 13, Modi claimed that he had never claimed that the Congress, if it comes it power, will reverse the Supreme Court’s verdict that paved the way for the construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya.

“This is not my statement,” Modi had told the news channel. “Please do not put words into my mouth. This statement is by a senior advisor of the Congress who has worked with them for 30 years. They have said that it is decided that the party will send Ram Lalla back to the tent. The Congress has decided this.”

The prime minister did not name the so-called senior advisor.

The Ram temple in Ayodhya is built on the site of the Babri mosque, which was demolished by Hindutva extremists in December 1992 because they believed that it stood on the spot where the Hindu deity Ram was born. The incident had triggered communal riots across the country.

In November 2019, the Supreme Court held that the demolition of the Babri mosque in 1992 was illegal, but handed over the land to a trust for a Ram temple to be constructed. At the same time, it directed that a five-acre plot in Ayodhya be allotted to Muslims for a mosque to be constructed.

The Ram temple was inaugurated in a ceremony led by Modi on January 22.

Also read:

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