Ram temple not poll issue, but a matter of faith: Shahnawaz
Mumbai, Oct 23 : BJP spokesman Shahnawaz Hussain Tuesday said the construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya was not an electoral issue for his party but a "matter of faith".
RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat had last week demanded a law to enable construction of the Ram temple, saying it was necessary for "self-esteem" (of the people in general) and to usher in an "atmosphere of goodwill and oneness".
Hussain said the BJP's official stand was that the Ram temple issue is pending before the Supreme Court. In a democracy, various demands are made and the government hears out each one of them, he said.
"All Indians want the temple to be constructed. It is not an electoral issue, but a matter of faith for the BJP," he said at the 'Mumbai Manthan' conclave organised by television news channel Aaj Tak.
Hussain was participating in a debate on whether the Modi government will accept Bhagwat's demand for a law to construct the Ram temple.
In his customary Dussehra address last Thursday in Nagpur, Bhagwat said "politics was delaying the construction of Ram Mandir" and that it was in "nobody's interest to test the patience of society without any reason."
The Ayodhya case is currently before the Supreme Court and the next hearing is scheduled on October 29.
During the conclave here, AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi claimed the Ram temple issue was a ploy to "deflect attention" from the rising prices of petrol, value of dollar (as the Indian rupee is sliding), mob lynching and sexual harassment charges against former Union Minister M J Akbar.
"If RSS is a socio-cultural organisation, how can it put pressure on the government to bring a law for construction of Ram temple?" the Lok Sabha member from Hyderabad asked.
He claimed Muslims were feeling "unsafe" under BJP's rule.
Asked if Congress president Rahul Gandhi can challenge Prime Minister Narendra Modi in next year's Lok Sabha polls, Owaisi said, "The nation is bigger than Modi or Rahul."
"Regional parties will play a key role in deciding the next prime minister," he said, adding that he holds UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi in high esteem.
"I have lot of respect for the lady," he was quoted as saying.