Lucknow: Senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader Vinay Katiyar on Wednesday said Ram Temple will share centre-stage with development as the main election planks during the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
'Vikas alone will not help BJP win the election. The emphasis needs to be brought back on Ram temple,', the former Rajya Sabha MP told reporters here.
Several BJP MLAs and even a UP Minister have questioned the functioning of the Yogi government that led to the party's recent defeat in Gorakhpur, Phulpur and Kairana Lok Sabha and Noorpur assembly bypolls. UP minister Om Prakash Rajbhar, too, has demanded that a backward class member be the CM of the state.
'It's not just the issue of party workers being ignored, although this has led to large-scale resentment. It is also because party and government had almost ignored the issue of Ram Temple in Ayodhya,' Mr Katiyar said. Questioning Modi government's development push, Mr Katiyar said,'Vikas also happened during Atal Bihari Vajpyee's government, but the party didn't come back to power in 2004 because temple issue was ignored.'
He added, 'It's high time the Narendra Modi government at the Centre should be seen being serious about paving the way for Ram temple in Ayodhya, or else victory in 2019 will pose a challenge.'
Mr Katiyar also took a swipe at PM Modi, and asserted, 'visiting mosques in other countries will not help, focus should be on removing difficulties in path of Ram Temple.' The allusion was to Mr Modi's recent visit to three southeast Asian nations, during which he went to mosques, mocked by Samajwadi Party's Akhilesh Yadav as minority appeasement.
Chief priest of the Ram Janambhoomi Temple, Acharya Satyendra Das, has also expressed his dismay over the statements by BJP leaders that development would be the sole poll plank. 'The BJP has cheated Lord Ram in a way. They came to power in the name of Lord Ram and then forgot him. If the BJP wants to win 2019 Lok Sabha elections, it should start the construction of Ram Temple, else it will be difficult for them,'the saint said in Ayodhya on Tuesday. UNI