NEW DELHI: The BJP has attempted to clear the air in the controversy over remarks reportedly made by BJP president over the construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
Shah allegedly made these remarks at a meeting of BJP leaders in Hyderabad. News agency IANS said the party's national executive member Perala Sekharjee on Friday quoted Shah as saying, "Considering the developments, I believe that construction of Ram temple will begin before the coming general elections."
The BJP's clarification came after hours of controversy over Shah's reported remarks. "Yesterday in Telangana, BJP President Shri @AmitShah didn't make any statement on the issue of Ram Mandir as being claimed in certain sections of the media. No such matter was even on the agenda," read a tweet from the BJP.
Yesterday in Telangana, BJP President Shri @AmitShah didn’t make any statement on the issue of Ram Mandir as being claimed in certain sections of the media. No such matter was even on the agenda.
— BJP (@BJP4India) July 14, 2018
The BJP also sent out its leaders to suggest that Shah had been misquoted. "Yesterday he said BJP is committed to Ram temple and that now the matter is sub-judice. Personally, he wants it to be made, and hopefully the process may begin before the 2019 polls because of circumstances relating to courts and other aspects," BJP leader NR Rao told news agency ANI.
The clarifications came after reports of the comments drew sharp reactions from political opponents, who question how Shah could have made such a comment on the issue, which is pending before the Supreme Court.
"AShah in Hyd says Mandir will be built b4 the Parl elections… Qs is Shah going to write the judgment when the SCourt is deciding the Title dispute,& whether Masjid is essential feature of Islaam… It is better if the issue / Judgment given after Parl Elections for free & fair Elec," read a tweet from AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi.
AShah in Hyd says Mandir will be built b4 the Parl elections
Qs is Shah going to write the judgment when the SCourt is deciding the Title dispute,& whether Masjid is essential feature of Islaam
It is better if the issue / Judgment given after Parl Elections for free & fair Elec
— Asaduddin Owaisi (@asadowaisi) July 14, 2018
What Owaisi has referred to in his tweet is also a plea by a number of parties in the ongoing Ayodhya dispute case. Congress leader Kapil Sibal, who is representing the Sunni Waqf Board in the title suit, had appealed to the court to reserve judgement on the case till after the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, on the grounds that it would lead to polarisation and politicisation of the issue.
The argument that the verdict would affect the Lok Sabha elections was brushed aside by the Supreme Court. Sibal also found himself in the lurch. His party distanced itself from his remark in the Supreme Court, and said he was speaking as a lawyer and not as a Congress leader.
Sibal also found his client in complete disagreement with what he had just asked the court. "Yes, Kapil Sibal is our lawyer, but he is also related to a political party. His statement in the Supreme Court yesterday was wrong. We want a solution to the issue at the earliest," said Sunni Waqf Board member Haji Mehboob.