Some people are intolerant towards Ram, says BJP

New Delhi: Calling it “height of intolerance”, the BJP on Thursday said that anything related to Lord Ram is seen as communal, even though it is a matter of faith and not politics.

“This is height of intolerance that anything even distantly related with Lord Ram is seen as communal,” Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesperson Shrikant Sharma told IANS when asked about the role of Mandir politics in the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections due early next year.

The BJP-led central government recently announced it would build a Ramayana Museum in Ayodhya, and Union Tourism Minister Mahesh Sharma visited Ayodhya on Tuesday to inspect the proposed site, some 15 km away from the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi site.

Opposition parties and the ruling Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh have accused the BJP of announcing the project just ahead of the state assembly polls solely for political gains.

However, Sharma said his party is not trying to cash in on the Ram temple issue in Uttar Pradesh elections.

“Let me say it once again that Ram Mandir is not a political issue but that of people’s faith. We would be fighting the Uttar Pradesh elections on the issues like law and order, road, water and infrastructure, and not on Ram Mandir,” Sharma said.

“Mandir to aastha ka mudda hai (Mandir is a matter of faith),” he added.

However, he quickly added that his party is “committed to building a Ram temple in Ayodhya”, but it would be either through judicial orders or public consensus.

On senior Congress leader Rita Bahuguna Joshi joining the BJP on Thursday, Sharma said that people in the Congress are disenchanted with Rahul Gandhi’s leadership.

“It is not just Congress leaders, but senior members from other parties in the state — be it Bahujan Samaj Party or the Samajwadi Party — are also joining the BJP. They are dissatisfied and looking towards Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP with hope,” Sharma said.