New Delhi, Feb 10 (PTI) Congress MP Pramod Tiwari claimed on Saturday that the Ram temple in Ayodhya has been constructed hundreds of metres away from the actual birthplace of Lord Ram and demanded that an all-party team of parliamentarians be formed to inspect the site.
During a short duration discussion in the Rajya Sabha on the historic construction of the Ram temple and the 'Pran Pratishtha' ceremony, Tiwari claimed the temple consecration has been done without following Hindu rituals.
"You...constructed a temple hundreds of metres away. You did not construct a temple at Ram Janmabhoomi. I want to put this on record. You make a team of members to inspect the site. Ram Mandir has been constructed away from the birthplace (of Lord Ram)," he said.
The Congress MP said that during his tenure as the tourism minister in Uttar Pradesh, Ram Katha Park and Ram ki Pedi were constructed.
The Congress MP said the consecration ceremony was held before the complete construction of the temple because of political reasons.
"I will show you a map of the grand Ram temple as evidence. Is it complete? If you follow Hinduism, has the entire country not been put in danger by this consecration? People say that if you pray to an incomplete temple then it brings agony to the entire society. I don't want to link it with the earthquake in Delhi the day they did it, still people say (so)," Tiwari claimed.
Tiwari said he is a resident of Awadh, a proud Hindu and a devotee of Lord Ram.
"I respect the judgment of SC (Supreme Court) that paved the way for the Ram temple.... I am among those who have faith in Lord Ram, worship him, and tread on principles laid down by Lord Ram. I am not a trader of Lord Ram. Lord Ram is the subject of faith for me," he said.
Tiwari said Mahatma Gandhi was a true worshipper of Lord Ram.
"Who has faith in Gandhi? It is a worldwide known fact. People also know who worship Godse, the murderer of Ram's biggest worshipper Gandhi," he said.
He expressed displeasure over the incomplete status of the temple.
"...leaving aside the dignity of Lord Ram, the temple was consecrated on January 22 to sail through the election," Tiwari said, apparently targeting the government.
"For election, you have put Lord Ram on the ballot box. I condemn it," Tiwari said.
"Many people went (to Ayodhya) on January 22. I have been there several times and will continue to go there. I am saying this as a Hindu, If you had to do the consecration of Ram Temple then the priest should have done it. Why did those people go there who had nothing to do with it," he said.
He said that everyone has faith in Lord Ram and it is not made a subject of dispute.
"Let that religious place be part of religion and not make that religious place a political place. That is the reason we did not go on January 22," Tiwari said.
After a long legal battle, the Supreme Court in 2019 ruled in favour of the construction of the temple, where Lord Ram is believed to have been born.
Top Congress leaders Mallikarjun Kharge, Sonia Gandhi and Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury recently "respectfully declined" the invitation to attend the Ram Temple consecration ceremony, with the party accusing the BJP of making it into a "political project" for electoral gains and asserting that religion is a "personal matter".
Beginning the discussion on the motion, BJP member Sudhanshu Trivedi stated that so many people made sacrifices to see the Ram temple finally come into shape.
He noted that whenever the BJP came to power it worked diligently towards the cause of the Ram Mandir.
Trivedi stated that the Kalyan Singh Government in Uttar Pradesh in 1991 acquired 67 acres of land and later during the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government at the Centre ground penetrating radar was brought and its findings were submitted in the court.
When the Narendra Modi government assumed office, the matter was in the Supreme Court, he said.
"The biggest problem is that the Supreme Court proceedings are held in English. Our government worked 24/7 to get the entire case papers translated to English in just 2-3 years and then approached the court for day-to-day hearing in the matter," Trivedi said.
Referring to various government schemes, he noted that Lord Ram has come to the temple at a time when four crore houses have been provided to the poor, 11 crore toilets have been built, and 54 crore Jan Dhan accounts made.
BJD member Amar Patnaik, BRS member K Keshava Rao, JD(U) member Aneel Prasad Hegde, BJP members K Laxman and Samir Oraon, Congress member Randeep Singh Surjewala, and Union minister L Murugan also participated in the discussion. PTI PRS MSS SMN