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BJP should confess its inability to build Ram temple, says Uddhav Thackeray

Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray.   | Photo Credit: AP

Needling his saffron ally, the ruling BJP on the Ram temple issue yet again, Sena president Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday dared the BJP to come clean and confess before the public that building the Ram Mandir at Ayodhya was not possible for them.

“Since 1989, the party has been giving slogans for erecting a Ram temple at Ayodhya. Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray had helped the BJP by evoking enthusiasm for the temple in Maharashtra. Yet, after all these years, why is the project still in limbo?” Mr. Thackeray said, addressing a rally of Shiv Sainiks in the temple town of Shirdi in Ahmednagar district, 200 km from Pune.

The Sena chief’s visit comes on the heels of Prime Minister Modi’s Shirdi tour last week. The rally marks Mr. Thackeray’s start of campaigning for the 2019 Lok Sabha election.

“Why keep deceiving people on the Ram Mandir issue? Like all false assurance of the Modi government, it ought to finally acknowledge that the Ram temple construction assurance, too, was false,” remarked the Sena chief, speaking with an eye to steal the hardliner Hindu votes from the BJP.

In the same vein, Mr. Thackeray flayed Mr. Modi’s Shirdi visit, remarking that the Prime Minister only sought the blessings of Saint Sai Baba to stay in power for the next five years.

“I have no craving for any position…I have prayed for the welfare of the public ...Before me, someone else [Mr. Modi] had come to seek Sai Baba’s blessings, but what has he done with that? There has no improvement in the situation of the common people and the poor in this country” Mr. Thackeray said, administering a sharp jibe to the Prime Minister and his Shirdi trip.

Mr. Modi had offered worship at the Sai Baba Temple during the closing ceremony of the Sai Baba Samadhi centenary celebrations last week. He had also handed over keys of houses to nearly 40,000 beneficiaries of the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana — Gramin (PMAY- G) while speaking to some of the beneficiaries.

Mocking Mr. Modi’s conversations with PMAY beneficiaries, Mr. Thackeray said the PM’s attempts to win hearts and minds by interacting with villagers in the vernacular language was a sham as the people in the State had not benefited by the schemes of the BJP government.

“In many cases, beneficiaries are being tutored by the BJP government. The point is, has the situation improved from what it was during earlier governments?” he said, stating that the BJP government had been hoodwinking people in the State with its farm loan waiver proposal.

The Sena president defended the Sena’s actions in criticizing the BJP despite being part of the ruling coalition in the State and Central government.

“There are those who criticize why we [the Sena] do not pull out of this coalition in Maharashtra. To them I say that if I can stay within the government and force the BJP to work for the public’s benefit, then why should the Sena exit?” Mr. Thackeray said, remarking that “weakness was not in his blood”.

“The people have voted for us as well as the BJP and I’m not going to turn tail and run…The Sena is going to make this government accountable to the people of Maharashtra,” he said.

Mr. Thackeray also addressed a rally in Ahmednagar district and is slated to speak to workers and party bearers in the Marathwada region on Monday.

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Printable version | Jun 14, 2021 7:47:25 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/bjp-should-confess-its-inability-to-build-ram-temple-says-uddhav-thackeray/article25278988.ece

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