Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray on Thursday, 22 November, said the Ram temple issue is raked up before every election, and wondered for how long people will be 'fooled' by the 'mandir wahi banayenge' slogan.
Thackeray said that during his visit to Ayodhya on 25 November, he would "seek an answer" to how many more elections would pass with people being ‘fooled’ by the slogan.
The Sena chief collected soil from Shivneri fort in Junnar tehsil of Pune district, where Maratha warrior king Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj was born. He told reporters that he would carry the soil to Ayodhya during his visit on Sunday.
Thackeray had announced during the Shiv Sena's Dussehra rally in Mumbai that he will visit Ayodhya on 25 November and "question" Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the issue of the construction of the Ram temple.
"The soil where Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj was born carries with it sentiments of all Hindus and collecting these sentiments will speed up the process of the construction of Ram temple," he said.
“The issue of Ram temple is raked up before every election. I will seek an answer as to for how many more elections will the people be fooled with the slogan ‘mandir wahi banayenge’,” he said.
The slogan is used by Hindutva groups, who aim to build a Ram temple on the site of the demolished Babri Masjid in Ayodhya.
Asked if permissions were granted for his public rally in Ayodhya, Thackeray said his original programme includes visit to the site to seek Lord Ram's blessings, as announced in the rally.
"Seers there had expressed their desire that I should visit the site, so I will take their blessings and also take part in the evening aarti on the banks of the Sarayu river," he said.
In a bid to intensify his party's campaign for the Ram temple in Ayodhya, Thackeray has given a new slogan – 'Pehle mandir, fir sarkaar' (first the temple, then the government).
A Sena functionary said a special train has been booked to ferry Shiv Sena members to Ayodhya for Thackeray's visit.
Women party workers and Yuva Sena cadres have been asked not to come to Ayodhya for want of accommodation, he said.
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