Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to lay the foundation stone of the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya on August 5 after which the construction of the grand temple will commence. Several dignitaries including Union Ministers and RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat are expected to attend the ceremony. According to the trust, the guest list has been trimmed to around 50 VIPs because of restrictions on travel and gatherings during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Meanwhile, BJP Rajya Sabha MP Subramanian Swamy has said that PM Modi has no contribution towards the construction of the Ram Mandir. “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,” Swamy told TV9 Bharatvarsh.
Instead, Swamy was seen praising former Prime Ministers Rajiv Gandhi and PV Narasimha Rao to have pushed for the construction of the Ram Mandir.
For the uninitiated, it was Rajiv Gandhi who had ordered to remove the locks on the then contested site. Until then, only a priest had been permitted to perform puja once a year for the idols installed there in 1949.
"In 1985, Rajiv Gandhi gave in to the Muslim zealots in the Shah Bano affair. Overruling a secular court’s decision that repudiated wife Shah Bano was entitled to alimony from her ex-husband, he enacted a law abolishing the alimony provision in conformity with the Sharia. Since India, unlike purely secular states, already had religion-based civil codes, this concession merely brought the minor matter of alimony under the purview of the prevailing arrangement. More importantly, it prevented riots. Only months later, Rajiv restored the balance by giving the Hindus something as well: he ordered the locks on the Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid in Ayodhya removed," reads an article in Outlook.
However, it was P.V. Narasimha Rao under whose tenure the Babri Masjid demolition took place. It is believed that then Prime Minister Rao had the option to impose central rule in Uttar Pradesh in July and had even sought a contingency plan to protect the mosque. But eventually, he did nothing.
It was in October 1990 that the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) had announced to perform a kar seva next to the Babri Masjid on 6 December. Rao had reportedly asked his home secretary Madhav Godbole to come up with a contingency plan. Several meetings between different players were also held. However, the question of what Rao was doing as the mosque was over run and brought down remains unanswered.
Coming back to Swamy, after he said that PM Modi has no contribution towards the construction of the Ram Mandir, a Twitter user posted a newspaper cutting of the senior BJP leader's comment allegedly after the demolition. "The government should declare that Babri Masjid should be rebuilt and handed over to the Muslims. Ram Temple may be built in a nearby place if Hindus desire," reads the comment.