BJP leader and Subramanian Swamy does not not mince words. While the Rajya Sabha MP will not be attending the Ayodhya Ram Janmabhoomi event, he has been a vocal champion for the cause. But his stance on the temple seems to have changed with the times.
Swamy created a bit of a stir recently after stating that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had had no contributions to the movement. Instead, Swamy credits former Prime Ministers Rajiv Gandhi and PV Narasimha Rao for laying the groundwork for the temple construction.
“We did all the arguments and debates for the temple. The government did nothing that can be called a factor towards the (Supreme Court’s) decision favouring the construction of the temple,” he told TV9 Bharatvarsh.
One of the most vocal proponents of the movement for a Ram Temple at Ayodhya, Swamy has, on many occasions urged for action. It was Swamy who filed a fresh petition before the Supreme Court in 2016 seeking direction to allow construction of a temple at the disputed site. And while the apex court had, in 2018 disallowed him from intervening in the dispute, the BJP leader had soon after, in February 2019, moved the SC for urgent listing of his plea seeking the enforcement of the fundamental right to worship. Many also credit Swamy for the court's decision to eventually hold daily hearings.
Interestingly enough, this does not seem to have always been the case. A snapshot of a newspaper copy shared by a Twitter user suggests that Swamy had held a slightly different stance at the time.
It must however be mentioned that we at FPJ could not verify the authenticity of this post. Nonetheless, it is worth mentioning as we track Swamy's Ram Mandir journey over the years.
Over the years, Swamy has frequently taken on naysayers or those with differing viewpoints. In October 2017, he tackled those who had suggested building a hospital at the disputed site.
"I suggest a mental hospital 10 kms across Saryu River with a window to see temple," he had tweeted.
In June 2019, soon after the Lok Sabha results were declared, he said that it was time for the government to announce the "commencement of construction of Ram Temple through Ramjanmabhoomi Nyas Samiti or VHP".
"The entire 67.703 acres belongs to Union Govt. When SC decides the cases compensation will be given to winners.But not land. Meantime construction can begin," he had tweeted.
But once the verdict had been passed, Swamy was again making headlines for a slightly controversial take on things. He, in a February 6, 2020 tweet had noted that the Ram Mandir Trust could also include members who were not Hindu.
"Under the proviso to Article 25 of the Constitution a Hindu in India is defined as one who is not a Muslim or Christian. So PM must include a Sikh, Buddhist and Jain in the Trust," he had tweeted.
The much-awaited foundation stone-laying ceremony of the Ram temple in Ayodhya will take place amid much fanfare on Wednesday. PM Modi will unveil a plaque to mark the laying of the foundation stone and also release a commemorative postage stamp on 'Shree Ram Janmabhoomi Mandir'.
While the Supreme Court verdict had been a pivotal moment, for many across the country and beyond, watching the foundation stone being laid down may evoke a far more visceral reaction. It is estimated that the construction would take around three and a half years.