On Ram Temple Issue, Union Minister “Challenges” Rahul Gandhi

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The remarks came in backdrop of Congress portraying Rahul Gandhi as a 'Shiv Bhakt'. (File)


Union minister Giriraj Singh on Tuesday threw a challenge to Congress president Rahul Gandhi to come out openly in support of the Ram temple at Ayodhya instead of visiting shrines across the country.

The BJP leader also reiterated that the "Hindus are running out of patience". He first made the statement on Monday after the Supreme Court deferred the hearing on the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute till January.

"Instead of visiting one temple after another, Rahul Gandhi should come out and proclaim his support for building a Ram temple at Ayodhya and declare that every Congressman will back the Ram Janmabhoomi movement. Let us see if he has the courage," Mr Singh told reporters in Patna.

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"I do not know whether Gandhi is indeed a Hindu. If he is, what is his gotra (clan)? (I do not know) whether he observes the dietary restrictions which are mandatory for Hindus to follow. But I would like to remind him that in the Ramayana there is a verse that says that one who is opposed to Rama cannot be a devotee of Lord Shiva," he said.

He said Mr Gandhi's "devotion for Shiva will have no takers if he keeps silent on the Ram temple issue". His remarks came in the backdrop of the Congress portraying the Congress president as a 'Shiv Bhakt' (a devotee of Lord Shiva).

Mr Singh blamed India's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, who is also Mr Gandhi's maternal great grandfather, for "problems like Ayodhya, Kashi and Mathura".

"Had he (Nehru) resolved these issues in accordance with Hindu sentiments while he was the prime minister, things would not have come to such a pass," he said.

Meanwhile, RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav, whose party is a Congress ally in Bihar, attacked Mr Singh during a visit to the latter's Lok Sabha constituency of Nawada.

"Is he a 'thekedaar' (custodian) of Hindus and their interests? He has been in politics for so long. Has he or any member of his family ever been hit by even a pebble during a communal riot. It is always the Dalits, the backwards who bear the brunt during communal clashes while elites like him watch from a safe distance," Mr Yadav said.

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