Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday told the Lok Sabha that the Cabinet had approved a scheme for the construction of a grand Ram temple in Ayodhya by setting up an autonomous trust, Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra, to take forward the process as per the Supreme Court’s orders.
The Supreme Court mandated three-month deadline to set up a trust was to end on February 9, a day after Delhi votes.
The Ministry of Home Affairs notified the trust and Union Home Minister Amit Shah said in a tweet that there would be 15 trustees, out of which one would always be from the Dalit society.
As soon the Lok Sabha convened at 11 a.m., Mr. Modi said he wanted to share information on a “very important and historical subject”. He said, “This topic is close to my heart like millions of countrymen and I consider it my great fortune to talk about it.”
Mr. Modi announced that the government had decided to transfer the entire 67.703 acres to the trust. “This trust will be fully autonomous to take any decision regarding the construction of temple”, he said.
The Prime Minister complimented the citizens for showing exceptional maturity in accepting the court verdict of November 9 last. “People of the country have shown great restraint and maturity in accepting the court order and this is indeed praiseworthy. I salute them for this maturity”, he said.
The Uttar Pradesh government had approved the Supreme Court’s direction to grant 5 acres to the Central Sunni Wakf Board, he noted.
In the backdrop of the ongoing protests over the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC), Mr. Modi used the opportunity to reach out to different sections.
“We believe in the philosophy that the world is one family [‘vasudhaiva kutumbakam’] and everyone should be happy [‘sukhino bahavonto’]. People professing every sect and every religion, be they Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Christians, Jains and Parsi, they are all part of the larger Indian family. That's why my government has followed the principle of Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas and Sabka Vishwaas,” he observed.
“Join me in support of the construction of a grand Ram temple in Ayodhya on this historic occasion and let us all speak in one voice,” he addressed the members, especially the Opposition benches by repeating the words, ‘aayeeye, aayeeye’ (come, come).
Responding to Mr. Modi’s call, several ruling MPs chanted ‘Jai Shri Ram’ amid thumped the desks.
No link to Delhi polls: Javadekar
Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar denied any link when asked why the government didn’t wait until Sunday for the Delhi Assembly polls to be over before making the announcement.
“This is the decision taken for a temple in Ayodhya. Nothing to do with Delhi. The whole country is not under elections. Let us not confuse the situation,” he told reporters at a briefing to announce Cabinet decisions.