VHP leader Alok Kumar offers support to Congress over Ram temple issue, retracts later

VHP leader Alok Kumar has issued a clarification over his remarks on offering support to Congress in Lok Sabha polls.  

VHP leader Alok Kumar offers support to Congress over Ram temple issue, retracts later

NEW DELHI: Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) working president Alok Kumar, who had triggered a row by saying that his organisation would consider backing the Congress party in the Lok Sabha polls if it includes the construction of Ram temple in its manifesto, has now retracted his statement.

Issuing a clarification on Sunday, Kumar said that his statement was over-stretched.

"This is nothing but an over-stretching of my statement," Kumar was quoted as saying by news agency IANS soon after a row erupted over his reported remarks. 

"Neither are we considering to support the Congress nor will we do so in future," Kumar said.

The VHP leader also said that there was less possibility of government bringing a legislation for building a grand Ram temple in Ayodhya during the present dispensation.

Issuing a warning to the ruling BJP, the VHP leader had asserted on Saturday that his outfit is open to backing the Congress in the upcoming polls if the grand old party promises to build Ram Mandir in Ayodhya in its election manifesto.

“The Congress has closed all its doors for us, but if they open their doors and include the Ram Mandir in their manifesto, we may think of supporting the party,”VHP’s working president Alok Kumar had reportedly told media during the ongoing Kumbh Mela in Prayagraj.

Kumar also told reporters that the Congress party must remove restrictions on 'swamyasewaks' joining the party.

"One doesn't become a Brahmin by just wearing janeau (sacred thread)," Kumar said while referring to Congress president Rahul Gandhi.

However, later clarifying on the issue, Kumar claimed that he was extending the offer to all the political parties fighting in 2019 and not specifically to the Congress.

VHP wants a "broad political consensus" on the Ram temple issue, he added.

Reacting to VHP’s statement, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra took a dig at Congress party and asked it to inherit Lord Ram first.

A senior Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) had recently taken a dig at the BJP-led Government by saying that a Ram Temple would be built in Ayodhya in 2025. 

Notably, both VHP, RSS have been disappointed since Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in an interview to news agency ANI, had made it clear that an ordinance to build a Ram Mandir would arise only after the Supreme Court, delivers its verdict.

“The ordinance on triple talaq was brought after the verdict of Supreme Court. We want the issue to be solved within the framework of the Constitution. The ordinance on Ram Mandir can arise only after legal process gets over and Supreme Court gives its verdict,” PM Modi had said.