Says he will get inner peace only after a temple comes up

Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and the architect of the party's Ayodhya movement, L.K. Advani played the Ram card when he said that he would get “man ki santushti” (inner peace and mental satisfaction) only when a Ram temple was built at the place where the images are kept.

Mr. Advani was addressing a public meeting at the Government Inter College grounds in Faizabad (it falls in the Assembly constituency) on Saturday.

He revived the temple issue while soliciting support for the party candidate and sitting MLA, Lalloo Singh. Incidentally, in the BJP manifesto, construction of the Ram temple was mentioned in the introduction to the document and not listed in the promises made by the party.

Mr. Advani said the Ayodhya movement had taught him “nationalism and cultural nationalism.” In his 25-minute address he repeatedly mentioned the temple issue and lauded the verdict of the Allahabad High Court delivered on September 30, 2010.

As the case was before the Supreme Court, he discussed the subject with counsel Ravi Shankar Prasad. “Lekin main apni man ki bhawna to vyakt karoonga [but, I will express my sentiments],” Mr. Advani said.

The BJP leader recalled that when the National Democratic Alliance government under Atal Behari Vajpayee was in power at the Centre, it planned to pass a law in Parliament for building the Ram temple — a move similar to that of the Jawaharlal Nehru government for rebuilding the Somnath temple — and through facilitating negotiations between Hindus and Muslims. “There is hope for the convergence of a court verdict and negotiations becoming the base for building the temple,” Mr. Advani said.

He said that not only should a Ram temple be built in Ayodhya but the town should also become a “uttam nagri” (a town with the best of amenities) so that when people come here they feel happy.

The veteran BJP leader recounted his poor knowledge of Hindi language as a original resident of Karachi and the inspiration he got from K.M. Munshi's books, Jai Somnath and Pilgrimage to Freedom Struggle, for his Somnath-Ayodhya yatra in 1990 (which catapulted the BJP to power in Uttar Pradesh in 1991). “During the yatra, I wanted to tell the people that if the Central Cabinet of Jawaharlal Nehru could take a decision to build the Somnath temple, why couldn't the Rajiv Gandhi government do the same for the temple in Ayodhya,” the senior BJP leader claimed. (Incidentally, the Janata Dal government of V.P. Singh supported by the BJP was in power when the rath yatra was taken out by Mr. Advani).

Even as Ayodhya was the focal point in his address, Mr. Advani said that India's prestige in the comity of nations had suffered a setback following corruption, scams and price rise. Hitting out at the United Progressive Alliance government, he said that in 64 years of Congress rule, poverty and unemployment had increased in the country. He charged that corruption and black money stashed away in Swiss banks were the reasons for the price rise and poverty.