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Hope new Ram temple becomes symbol of great humanity: H D Deve Gowda

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New Delhi, Feb 10 (PTI) Former prime minister H D Deve Gowda on Saturday hoped that the new Ram temple in Ayodhya becomes a symbol of great humanity for the nation and the world.

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Speaking on the white paper on economy in Rajya Sabha, he congratulated Prime Minister Narendra Modi for leading the consecration ceremony of Ram temple which was a moment of joy for millions of Indians.

The JDS leader also lauded former prime ministers Narasimha Rao and Chaudhary Charan Singh and agriculture scientist M S Swaminathan for being conferred the Bharat Ratna and described them as "great men".

He also praised Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman for giving back to the Opposition and countering them on the economy.

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Deve Gowda said he and his wife attended the consecration of the Ram temple in Ayodhya.

"It was a great moment of personal joy and devotion for me like it was to millions of Indians.

"Lord Ram existed in our hearts and minds is an image that our ancestors and elders have permanently created. Lord Rama is a symbol of righteousness, he is a symbol of love and graciousness. He followed dharma and raj-dharma.

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He was very accommodative and reflective. It is these values enshrined in Lord Rama that drew Mahatma Gandhi to him," he said.

"It was Gandhi ji who made Lord Rama a symbol of great virtues of our nation.

It is through Lord Rama and his divine blessings that united this nation and laid the foundations for the harmonious future. It is the moral strength that Lord Rama gave that we fought the British empire," the former prime minister said.

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"I seriously wish that the new Lord Rama temple becomes a symbol of great humanity for our nation and the world," he noted.

He also congratulated the prime minister, saying he had observed a fast for 11 days when he had to perform the consecration ceremony. "He is so dedicated and sincere to perform that function with pandits," he said.

"The House and the country should welcome the Bharat Ratna to all the three -- Narasimha Rao, Chaudhary Charan Singh and M S Swaminathan. We should laud those great men," he also said.

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Deve Gowda said he was associated with Chaudhary Charan Singh for four years and "me and my family stayed in his house". "He used to like me so much because I am a farmer and asked me to stay in his house." He also lamented that Charan Singh could not become a member of the Lok Sabha.

"It was such a sad day for me. I knew Charan Singh and he was honest to the core and how people try to tarnish his image," he said, adding that he was unable to come and sit in this House as prime minister.

"I also took the service of Swaminathan for 10 months (during my tenure as prime minister)," Deve Gowda added. PTI SKC CK

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