New Delhi: Nominated member of Parliament (MP) Rakesh Sinha recently expressed his intention to bring a private member’s bill in the Rajya Sabha to allow construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya. In an interview, Sinha, who recently wrote a book Understanding RSS, says legislation is one of the best possible solutions for the Ram Janmabhoomi issue and the issue is now out of the court and in Parliament. Edited excerpts:
What do you think are the five most important accomplishments of the Union government which should be showcased by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for electoral victory?
Developmental activities are unique about the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government because for the first time in independent India the Union government is directly connected with the rural poor and urban poor. There are 1.81 crore homes that have been electrified; this is a unique achievement. Almost 32.99 crore bank accounts have been opened, financial inclusion has been a dream in India, larger poor population are now part of the banking system. Almost 20 crore people have been covered under the social security programmes of the government. This is very uncommon because it has happened in a span of four years. Now, 50 crore people would benefit from the Ayushman Bharat scheme of the government, in the health insurance scheme.
Ram Janmabhoomi issue is also equally important because Ram and roti are both important for civilization and India is a civilizational nation state. It is not an electoral issue but it also exposes the elements who are ignoring India’s cultural and civilizational legacies.
This government is free from any allegation of corruption; there is no scam. The government has also increased minimum support price (MSP) which has never happened in the past. Earlier, farmers were only given packages, but now there is a shift in the policy of the government from corporates to farmers.
The Union government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi has brought honour to the country at the international level. Indian has been now acknowledged as a strong player in international politics as Prime Minister is assertive and has reinvented international diplomacy.
You recently announced that you will move a private member’s bill for the construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya. What was the idea behind this move?
Ram Janmabhoomi issue is very important, it is not a new dispute. The struggle to rebuild a temple has been going on for 400 years. There might be dispute on the structure which existed which was known as Babri Masjid but there is no dispute on the particular place. The Mughal and British revenue reports repeatedly mention the place as janamsthan (birth place). It is an accepted fact that temple was destroyed, four ASI reports from 1872 to 2003, all four reports confirm that there was a temple. There is evidence of destruction of temple. Lord Ram is inalienable to Indian ethos. The dispute has been imposed. RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) chief Mohan Bhagwat has liberated the issue from Hindu-Muslim binary, he said that it is not about Hindus and Muslims but it is about aggressors and indigenous civilization and culture. We have relied on courts, our faith in judiciary is undiluted; that is why BJP, RSS and VHP (Vishwa Hindu Parishad) appeal to the court to expedite the proceedings. We hoped that court would do day-to-day hearing. Our only expectation is day-to-day hearing. The contesting party has no evidence except writings of some Marxist historians.
We are sure that when court starts day-to-day hearing, the verdict would be in favour of temple.
I ask opposition parties that I will bring private member’s bill, will they support it? What will be the position of Congress, Samajwadi Party, and the allies of Congress party?
Opposition parties have continuously asked BJP when will construction begin, now I ask them to support the private member’s bill. Legislation is one of the best possible solution of the Ram Janmabhoomi issue. The issue is now out of court and in Parliament.
RSS chief recently said that Ram temple should be built at the earliest. Why is there so much focus on Ram temple again?
It is not now, demand for reconstruction of temple has been a continuous process. There have been several attempts to build consensus by various groups. Appeals have been made to Supreme Court for day-to-day hearing. This is not election-centric, it is a coincidence that elections are taking place. Supreme Court has given verdict on Article 377, Sabarimala in a time-bound framework, and Jallikattu in a time-bound framework. RSS is showing urgency for construction of temple because it will end binary between Hindus and Muslims.
BJP has always said that they will wait for the verdict of Supreme Court on the issue. Is the stand changing?
No; BJP is committed for the reconstruction of the Ram temple and the party’s stand is unchanged since 1989. The party’s commitment for Ram temple is without any doubt. The strategy of the party changes but its commitment remains undiluted.
Is the hype around constructing a temple in Ayodhya because of the assembly elections in five states and forthcoming general elections in 2019? Do you think construction of temple would become one of the major issues in both the polls?
Ram Janmabhoomi has never been used by BJP as a political plank. It has never tried to appropriate it for electoral benefits. People should ask why Rahul Gandhi visits temples during election campaigns. In Karnataka, Congress party tried to divide Hindus by claiming that Lingayats have a separate identity. What happened now? Most of the time, these pseudo-secular political parties have used religion for their own political gains and have used vote bank politics since their foundation. They try to polarize Hindus and Muslims and try to appease Muslims. Now, they want to create division among the Hindu society. This issue exposes their betrayal for positive secularism. It is not the BJP but Congress party which has been exploiting religion for votes.
RSS recently announced that it would start a nationwide agitation for construction of a temple in Ayodhya if the court verdict gets delayed. Why is another agitation being planned after nearly three decades?
In a parliamentary democracy, peaceful, non-violent agitation is a fundamental right. Whatever RSS has announced, it is under the framework of India’s constitution. An agitation channelizes the energy of the people, it is a way to strengthen democracy. We have fought against Emergency, now we want construction of Ram temple for positive reasons. It is not against anybody. Some movements are anti-government, some movements are for benefits, but this movement is for cultural reasons. Lord Ram is not a political issue but it symbolizes national ethos. This movement is a democratic expression under the constitutional framework.
The Ayodhya dispute is before the Supreme Court. Do you believe a private members bill is possible? Do you fear it would be seen as contempt of court?
In a parliamentary democracy, Parliament is supreme. Its sovereignty is unchallenged. On many occasions, Parliament has scuttled judicial proceedings, and also the verdict of the judiciary. In 1950s, when Supreme Court gave its ruling on zamindari abolition, Parliament had taken a very progressive stand. So, there is no question that an ordinance or private member’s bill or legislation can be anti-democracy or against the spirit of the Constitution. Most political parties have not made their stand clear on Ram Janmabhoomi. No party is opposing court verdict, but what is the view of these political parties on the issue? Political parties must make it clear if they consider it the birth place of Lord Ram.