Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray today announced that his government, which is in alliance with the ideologically different Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party, will give Rs 1 crore to help in the construction of a temple to Lord Ram in Uttar Pradesh’s Ayodhya.
Mr Thackeray arrived in the temple town today for the first time after becoming Chief Minister in December last year, following a squabble over power sharing with its longtime ally BJP, eventually leading to a break-up.
“I have parted ways with the BJP, not with Hindutva. The BJP is not Hindutva. Hindutva is a different thing and I have not parted ways with it,” he told a gathering in Ayodhya, where he was scheduled to perform an aarti, but cancelled it due to concerns over the coronavirus.
The Sena-Congress-NCP combine had to hammer out a common minimum programme to form government. Sena minister Aaditya Thackeray, in a blog on NDTV, said, “At multiple times in the past, the Congress and Shiv Sena found consonance on various issues.”
“The last time I was here, I came when things about the Ram temple were in a flux. I came here in November 2018. In November 2019, the (Supreme) Court gave a historic decision and for me, I became the Chief Minister… I have come here for a third time and whenever I come here it brings good news to me,” Mr Thackeray said.
“I spoke to Yogi ji yesterday and told him we will build the temple for sure and would request him to give some place in Ayodhya for Ram bhakts who come to help in temple construction. The Maharashtra government will give Rs 1 crore to build the temple,” the Chief Minister said, referring to his saffron-robed counterpart in Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath.
The Supreme Court had in November said in a landmark verdict that the ownership of the site claimed by both Hindus and Muslims was entirely with Ram Lalla or infant Lord Ram. The government was ordered to set up a trust to oversee the building of a Ram temple at the site where the Babri mosque was razed by Hindu activists who believed it was built on the ruins of an ancient temple to mark the birthplace of Ram (Ram Janmabhoomi).
The land assigned for a mosque in Ayodhya by the Uttar Pradesh government, in line with a Supreme Court order, is some 25 km from the temple-mosque site. The land is in village Dhanipur in Ayodhya, on the Lucknow highway, around 18 km from the district headquarters, UP minister Srikant Sharma said on February 5.