Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray took jibes at his estranged coalition partner Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over the delay in the construction of the Ram temple in Ayodhya.
Thackeray, who arrived in the Uttar Pradesh temple town early on Saturday, addressed thousands of supporters at Laxmi Fort amid slogans of “Jai Shree Ram”.
“I want a date (for the construction of Ram temple). Tell me when you will construct the temple. We can talk about other things later,” said Thackeray slamming BJP at the Centre and Uttar Pradesh over the issue that intensified just before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
“Atal-ji’s government was a coalition. It was tough to bring in a law then. But now the BJP is in power both in UP and the Centre. Do whatever – bring an ordinance, a law – Shiv Sena will support it,” said the 58-year-old Thackeray, whose party, though an ally of the BJP at the Centre and in Maharashtra, has been lambasting the saffron party over a host of issues including demonetisation.
At the rally, Thackeray also gave a clarion call. “The Hindu will not keep quiet,” he said.
Calls for an Ordinance to facilitate the construction of the Ram temple have only been rising since the Supreme Court on 29 October declined an urgent hearing of the Ayodhya land dispute case saying that “appropriate bench” will decide in January next year when to hear the politically-sensitive case.
Earlier today, Thackeray arrived in Ayodhya with his wife Rashmi and son Aditya to a grand reception for the two-day rally that aims to bring his party at the centre of the increasing calls for the construction of Ram temple in the holy city.
Reports say that at least two trains full of Shiv Sena supporters from Maharashtra and elsewhere arrived in Ayodhya for the high-profile rally.
This is the first time that Thackeray is visiting Uttar Pradesh. His father, the late Balasaheb Thackeray –founder of Shiv Sena – had travelled to the state on a couple of occasions.
On Sunday morning, Thackeray will go for a darshan of Ram Lalla accompanied by local party leaders, sants and sadhus, interact with the media, and, later, with the public. Plans for a public rally were not finalised yet.
For the Ayodhya visit, Thackeray is carrying an urn containing the earth from the Shivneri Fort – the birthplace of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj in Pune district of Maharashtra.
Party leaders including Sanjay Raut, Ministers Eknath Shinde, Rajan Vichare, Mumbai Mayor Vishwanath Mahadeshwar and others have been camping in Ayodhya since the past few days to prepare for Thackeray’s visit.
Security has been tightened in Ayodhya and Section 144 has been clamped in the town.