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Business News/ Politics / Amit Shah bets on Nitish Kumar's Lok Sabha poll pitch, vows Sita temple in Bihar: 'Only PM Narendra Modi can...'

Amit Shah bets on Nitish Kumar's Lok Sabha poll pitch, vows Sita temple in Bihar: 'Only PM Narendra Modi can...'

At an election rally in Bihar, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said PM Modi had built the temple of Ram Lalla in Ayodhya and the BJP would construct a great temple at the birthplace of Ma Sita at Sitamarhi.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah.Premium
Union Home Minister Amit Shah.

Lok Sabha Elections 2024: Union Minister and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Amit Shah on Thursday claimed that if voted to power for the third straight term, the BJP would construct a Sita temple in Bihar's Sitamarhi. Notably, Bihar Chief Minister and Janata Dal (United) leader Nitish Kumar had also promised the same when he was part of the Opposition INDIA bloc.

At an election rally in Bihar, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, while reiterating the 'vote bank' jibe, said, "PM Modi has built the temple of Ram Lalla in Ayodhya. Now, the work that is left is to build a great memorial at the birthplace of Ma Sita." 

"Those who kept themselves away from Ram temple can't do this, but if someone can build a temple as ideal as the life of Ma Sita, it's Narendra Modi, it's BJP," the minister was quoted by ANI as saying at a rally in Bihar's Sitamarhi.

Amit Shah's Sita temple promise came months after Prime Minister and BJP leader Narendra Modi presided over the Pran Pratistha ceremony of Ram Lalla in Ayodhya Ram Mandir on January 22 this year. 

Notably, in December 2023, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar announced the state government's 72-crore plan to redevelop the temple at Sitamarhi. 

At that time, Nitish Kumar was a part of the INDIA bloc. So, the former INDIA bloc member's proposal to construct the Sita temple in Sitamarhi was interpreted as a direct challenge to the saffron party's endeavour to build the Ayodhya Ram Mandir.

Bihar government's Punourdham in Sitamarhi

Like Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh, which is believed to be the birthplace of Valmiki Ramayana's Ram, Sitamarhi in Bihar is believed to be the birthplace of Ram's wife, Sita.

The Nitish Kumar government's plan involves setting up a parikrama path (a path to circumambulate the temple) with a roof and sandstone pillars. According to media reports, a Sita Vatika (Sita's garden), Luv-Kush Vatika (Luv-Kush garden), and a shanti mandap (area for meditation) are also being planned, along with a cafeteria and a parking lot.

A 3D animation film depicting Sita's life is also in the pipeline.

Sita temple: BJP vs INDIA bloc

The INDIA bloc and the JD(U) had earlier accused the BJP of concentrating all efforts on Ram Lalla and the Ayodhya Ram Mandir. 

During the Haryana leg of the Bharat Jodo Yatra earlier in 2023, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said at a public meeting, "Yeh (RSS) 'Jai Siya Ram' kabhi nahi kehte. Inhone Sita ji ko naare se nikaal diya; utha ke bahar fenk diya. Yeh hamare itihaas ke khilaaf kaam kiya inhone. (This RSS never chants the name of Sita along with Ram. They eliminated Sita from the slogan, took her and threw her out. They have worked against our history) I am telling you (Congress workers) every time you come across an RSS worker, ask them to say 'Jai Siya Ram'. Kyunki, jitne jaroori Ram the, utni jaroori hi Sita ji thi."

Sitamarhi, one of the 40 constituencies in Bihar, goes to polls in the fifth phase of Lok Sabha elections on May 20.

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Sayantani is a Chief Content Producer with Livemint. Her interests are politics, war, and conflict. Off-duty, she explores cultural history and the 'Pedagogy of the Oppressed'
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Published: 16 May 2024, 04:41 PM IST
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