Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Thursday announced the Ram Mandir in Uttar Pradesh’s Ayodhya will be ready by January 1, 2024, the year when the Lok Sabha elections are scheduled to be held.
Targeting Congress leader Rahul Gandhi at a rally in Sabroom in Tripura, where state Assembly elections are due in March, Shah made the announcement, for the first time publicly.
This is being seen as an indication that Ram Mandir, a plank raked up by the saffron camp since 1990 when BJP leader L K Advani started out on a Rath Yatra to focus on the issue, may again be one of the cornerstones of BJP’s campaign in the 2024 polls.
The union home minister said that the Congress and Communists had put the Ram Mandir issue in the jurisdiction of the court for long, and praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying that he laid the foundation stone for it after the Supreme Court’s order permitting construction.
“From the time Babur destroyed it and left, from the time the country gained Independence, these Congress people got it embroiled in courts – Sessions Court, High Court, Supreme Court, again Sessions Court. Modiji came. One morning, the Supreme Court order came. Modiji performed the Bhoomi puja for Ram Lalla’s temple and the construction work began,” Shah said.
“Rahul Baba kaan khol kar sun lo, Sabroom walon aap bhi ticket kara lo (Listen, Rahul Baba, and people of Sabroom, book your tickets): On January 1, 2024, you will find a grand Ram temple ready in Ayodhya,” the union home minister added attacking Gandhi, who is in the midst of the Bharat Jodo Yatra, a 3,500 km foot march from Kanyakumari to Kashmir.
Notably, earlier this week, as the yatra is in its Uttar Pradesh leg, secretary of Ram Mandir Trust Champat Rai and chief priest of Ram Janmabhoomi temple Acharya Satyendra Das have appreciated the Congress leader for the march.
Shah also brought in the Pulwama incident that took place in 2019 and praised Modi saying that the country is safe in his hands.
“Ten days after the Pulwama incident in Kashmir, Indian soldiers went inside Pakistan and carried out a successful operation under Modi’s leadership,” Shah said.
On February 14, 2019, a suicide bomber attacked a CRPF convoy in Pulwama district of Jammu and Kashmir killing 40 Indian personnel. The Indian Air Force (IAF) raided a terrorist camp at Balakot in Pakistan on February 26.