Bhopal: Shankaracharya of Puri Nischalananda Saraswati criticized former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee for his desire to build a mosque along with the Ram temple at Ayodhya. Shankaracharya, who was interacting with people here at MP Prabhat Jha’s bungalow, said that Vajpayee had sent film star and BJP leader Shatrughan Sinha seeking his consent for construction of mosque but he refused.
Raising doubts over intentions of spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar who is holding talks with various religious leaders over Ayodhya issue, the
Shankaracharya said that Ravi Shankar was mediating to take credit in the matter. The offering of namaz at Ram temple was stopped by the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, while the locks of the temple were opened on the directions of former PM Rajiv Gandhi, he said.
He further alleged that PM Narsimha Rao got the disputed structure bulldozed and in a bid to protect his secular image, got BJP government in five states ousted. Stating that over 100 fake Shankaracharyas are roaming in the country, he castigated government for lack of courage to initiate action against them. He demanded capital punishment for these fake saints. He claimed that PM Narendra Modi had contested polls on the promise of development and not on Ram temple.
“Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader late Ashok Singhal had once urged me to spearhead movement for Ram temple but I refused and told him that Modi is fighting in the name of development,” he said. He further said that all parties were guided by lure of power and added that Ram temple’s construction is on the priority list of the BJP. He said that despite being in majority, Hindus were divided on caste lines. He also claimed that Jains Buddhists, Sikhs and others too are Hindus.