Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray on Friday sought to dodge a dart hurled at him for his party’s frequent statements on the Ram temple at Ayodhya, insisting that PM Modi’s rebuke for ‘loudmouths’ couldn’t be for him.
“It was for the ones who are making statements. I am not making statements, I am merely saying what is in the minds of the Hindus,” Thackeray told reporters after a meeting of party leaders on the Maharashtra assembly elections.
PM Modi, who was in Nashik yesterday to address a BJP rally, had reprimanded ‘bayan bahadurs and badbole’ (motormouths and loudmouths) for their statements on the Ram temple issue when a five-judge bench of the Supreme Court was hearing the case.
“I want to tell these people with folded hands to have faith in the judicial system,” PM Modi said, without identifying who was on his radar. It was widely seen as a reference to Thackeray and the Shiv Sena which has been using the issue to promote the party’s Hindutva credentials and pressurise the BJP.
Asked to respond, Thackeray said he did trust the judiciary.
““We will wait for court verdict… We have faith in the judiciary. But this case has been going on for a long time. We are expecting a ruling for years now,” he said.
Thackeray, who has already visited the makeshift temple in Ayodhya twice in last one year, said that he could go to Ayodhya once again before the Maharashtra Assembly elections.
A BJP leader speculated that PM Modi’s barb could have been aimed at the Sena chief as an oblique warning to tone down its stand and rhetoric on the seat-sharing deal. Some Sena leaders had suggested that
The Shiv Sena and the BJP are set to contest the state elections together, but a formal seat-sharing agreement is still pending because of a tussle over seat sharing. The Sena wants to contest half the seats in the assembly, a demand the BJP has been unwilling to concede.
The Sena chief had raised the Ram temple issue during PM Modi’s last visit to the state at a rally in Mumbai, seeking a quick redressal of the dispute. On Monday, Thackeray demanded that the Centre take a “courageous decision” to bring enact law to build a Ram temple on the disputed site in Ayodhya.
“It has been our demand from last year that a special law must be brought in and Ram Mandir should be built... The issue has been going on since 1992. How many years should we wait? We are hearing that the issue is in the final stages in the court. We appeal to the courts to give it decision on the issue. However, beyond that we expect that Centre should not wait for court order and use its powers,” the Sena chief had told reporters here.