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Thackeray's Ayodhya visit won't help Ram temple's cause: Athawale

Mumbai/New Delhi

08-June-2019

Union Minister Ramdas Athawale on Saturday took a potshot at NDA ally and Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray on the latter's plans to visit Ayodhya next week.

Speaking to mediapersons, Athawale said that "even if Thackeray goes to Ayodhya 10 times, it wont' help the cause of the Ram temple till the Supreme Court verdict comes".

Embarrassed Sena leaders in Mumbai declined to react to the Republican Party of India (A) President's statement, saying they would comment on it at an appropriate time.

"If Thackeray wants to take all his newly-elected MPs for sight-seeing to Ayodhya, that's fine. But it will not help the cause of the Ram temple construction in any way," Athawale pointed out.

He added that the Ram temple will come up only after the Supreme Court delivers its verdict in the matter, and that nothing will happen "even if Thackeray goes to Ayodhya 10 times".

Athawale said that he was personally very keen that the temple should come up as soon as possible, but everyone will have to await the apex court judgement on the issue which will pave the way for the temple construction.

His remarks were prompted by Thackeray's decision to take all the 18 Sena Lok Sabha MPs elected last month to Ayodhya for a "thanksgiving darshan of Ram Lalla" on June 16.

During his high-profile visit to Ayodhya last November, Thackeray had said: "Pehle Mandir, Phir Sarkar" (First temple, then government), attempting to bring the issue back to the centre-stage ahead of the last Lok Sabha polls.

His upcoming visit is intended to build pressures on the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) regime to expedite the construction of the Ram temple which suddenly seems to have been relegated to the backstage after the elections, analysts said.

Meanwhile, Athawale's aides in Mumbai said that there are no immediate plans for the RPI(A) chief to visit Ayodhya though he is passionate about the Ram temple construction. IANS