Mumbai: Amid charges of corruption in the land purchased by the Ram Janmabhoomi Trust in Ayodhya, the BJP’s estranged ally Shiv Sena on Monday sought ‘clarification’ from the trust and other leaders, saying the construction of the temple is a matter of faith for the saffron party and the common people. Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut said Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MP Sanjay Singh spoke to him on the issue on Monday morning and the “evidence provided by him is shocking”.
“Lord Ram and the fight for the Ram Mandir is a matter of faith for us. For some, it is a political matter. The Trust formed for the construction of the temple should clarify if the allegations are true or false. The temple’s ‘bhoomipujan’ ceremony was also attended by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat. They should also speak out. The Ram temple is a matter of faith. People have made donations out of faith. Even the Shiv Sena had contributed Rs one crore to the Trust,” Raut reminded.
If the money collected in good faith is misused, then what is the use of having faith, Raut asked. “We need to know what is happening. We need to know whether the allegations are true or false,” he said.
Raut was commenting on the allegation made by AAP Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Singh and a former minister in the Samajwadi Party government, Pawan Pandey, that land worth Rs 2 crore was bought at an inflated price of Rs 18.5 crore by the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust General Secretary Champat Rai for the Ram temple premises. The allegation was strongly refuted by Rai.
Raut said the members of the trust were appointed by the BJP. “Representatives of organisations like the Shiv Sena should have been included in the body, as the Sena had participated in the agitation for the construction of the Ram temple. That was our earlier demand.”
Raut’s statement is crucial as Shiv Sena president and Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, despite having severed ties with the BJP, has repeatedly said that he has not parted ways with Hindutva. Further, the Shiv Sena has said that it had honoured its commitment by transferring Rs one crore to the trust overseeing the construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya. During his visit to Ayodhya in March last year, Thackeray had announced the amount to be donated for the construction of the Ram temple.