The demand for the Narendra Modi government to take the ordinance route to facilitate early construction of Ram Mandir in Ayodhya grew louder on Monday as several BJP leaders and Sangh outfits voiced their frustration with the judicial process “getting delayed”.
The demands were spurred by the Supreme Court deciding that the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute cases will not be taken up now, but in January, after just a four-minute hearing. “We have other priorities,” a bench led by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said.
Within hours of the court hearing ending, BJP leaders like Sanjeev Baliyan and Vinay Katiyar, and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the ideological parent of the BJP, pushed for an ordinance to fast-forward the temple construction.
Union minister Giriraj Singh sounded an ominous warning, saying he feared the consequences if there was a further delay in building the temple.
“Ab Hinduon ka sabr toot raha hai. Mujhe bhay hai ki Hinduon ka sabr tuta toh kya hoga (Hindus are losing patience now. I am afraid of what would follow),” the Minister of State for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises said, adding that the court was not needed to solve the dispute.
BJP leader Vinay Katiyar alleged that the issue was being delayed “under pressure” from the Congress, which denied the charge. “People like Kapil Sibal and Prashant Bhushan are pressing for delaying the issue. Till when will Ram bhakts (devotees) wait? In 2019, the Congress will come to know,” he said. His party colleague Sanjeev Baliyan said, “I am surprised at the priorities of the court. I am of the view that the Ram Temple should be constructed. The government should explore all possibilities.”
Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said the Ram temple was an issue of faith and demanded that the government come out with an ordinance soon. “It is a matter of faith. The court cannot decide on this. The government should bring an ordinance,” he said.
The pressure on the BJP to bring an ordinance has grown ever since RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, in his annual Vijayadashmi address, asked the government to bring a law too.
The RSS, on Monday too, pressed for the construction of a Ram temple, saying it would lead to an atmosphere of “goodwill and harmony” in the country. “The RSS is of the opinion that a Ram temple should be constructed at the disputed site. The Supreme Court should immediately decide the case. If there are problems, the Centre should bring a legislation to remove the obstacles and hand over the Ram Janamsthan bhoomi to the Shri Ramjanmabhoomi Nyas,” Arun Kumar, the Akhil Bharatiya Prachar Pramukh of the Sangh, said.
Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram, however, said it was a familiar story every five years before the elections when the BJP tries to polarise the issue. “The Congress’s stated position is that the matter is before the Supreme Court and everyone should wait until the Supreme Court decides… We should not jump the gun,” he told reporters.
To a question on possibility of an ordinance for construction of the temple, he said the ordinance has to be decided by the government and not by Parliament. “If someone asks for an ordinance, the Prime Minister has to respond to them, but as you know, he will not respond to any issue,” he said.
Another Congress leader Anand Sharma said, “Everyone should patiently wait for the Supreme Court verdict. Congress party has stated that it will welcome and accept the Supreme Court verdict.” He said religion is a matter of faith and linking this issue to the vote bank politics will be a disservice to the nation.
All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul Muslimeen (AIMIM) leader Asaddudin Owaisi dared the government to bring an ordinance, saying the BJP refers to the Ram Temple again and again. “If they have the courage, they should bring an Ordinance on Ram Temple construction. They are trying to scare us about bringing an Ordinance, why don’t they bring it,” he said.
Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) working president Alok Kumar said Hindus cannot wait eternally for a court judgment on the Ayodhya land dispute case and asked the government to bring a law for building a Ram temple. He urged the Narendra Modi government to bring a legislation in the Winter Session of Parliament.
“The Supreme Court has once again adjourned the hearing. This fortifies the VHP’s stand that the solution to the Ram Janambhoomi issue is not in eternally waiting for hearing of appeals pending for over seven years.
“We reiterate our request to the Union government to enact a law to clear the way for building a grand temple of Lord Ram at his birthplace in Ayodhya,” Kumar said.
On allegations by some BJP leaders that the delay was under pressure from some Congress leaders, Chidambaram said, “The Supreme Court will decide when to hear the case. We don’t decide when the court will hear the case.”
A three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, said the appropriate bench will decide the future course of hearing in January next year on the appeals filed against the Allahabad High Court verdict in the Ayodhya land dispute case. “We will fix the date of hearing of the Ayodhya dispute case before the appropriate bench in January,” said the bench, which also comprised Justices S K Kaul and K M Joseph.