NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday announced the formation of a trust for the construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya, following the Cabinet clearing a detailed scheme for the shrine and its surrounding complex. The announcement came just four days before the threemonth deadline set by the Supreme Court was to end.
“The government has, as per the directions of the SC, paved the way for the construction of a grand Ram temple at the Ramjanmabhoomi site. The issue pertains to sensitivities and faith of crores of people in the country and it is my good fortune that I am making this announcement,” the PM told the Lok Sabha amid thumping of desks in BJP benches with home minister Amit Shah leading the way. BJP members also raised “Jai Shri Ram” slogans. The decision, coming days before polling in Delhi, lent itself to political interpretations, but the opposition steered clear of such allegations, perhaps keeping in mind the emotive nature of the issue.
In fact, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said, “Some people are asking about the timing. There is no right time for good work.” The PM said the government has transferred to the trust 67.7 acres of land for what he called a “grand and divine” Ram temple.
The formation of the trust marks another important step towards the implementation of the Sangh Parivar’s agenda and BJP’s poll pledge for the construction of Ram Mandir. Modi said the SC verdict had been met with great maturity and that Indian culture and tradition are based on the philosophy of “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” and “Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinah”.
In a message of unity, he said all faiths in India — whether Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Buddhists, Parsis or Jains — are members of one large family. “My government is moving ahead with the mantra of ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas and Sabka Vishwas’ so that every member of this family develops, remains happy and healthy, becomes prosperous and the country progresses.” Political circles noted that the announcement had been made by the PM, who in the case of two earlier eventful decisions of his second tenure — voiding of Article 370 and bifurcation of J&K, and the passage of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act — had opted to take the back seat, letting his trusted colleague and home minister to pilot the two initiatives.
Shah took to Twitter to congratulate the PM emphasising the provision to ensure that at least one member of the 15strong temple trust will be a Dalit. The trust will be called “Shri Ram JanmabhoomiTeerth Kshetra” and the PM said it will have full autonomy to construct a “magnificent and divine Shri Ram temple at the birthplace of Bhagwan Shri Ram in Ayodhya and take decisions on matters connected with it”.


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