BJP ally JD(U) says won’t support ordinance for Ram temple in Ayodhya
Patna: Bihar Chief Minister and Janta Dal United JD(U) National President Nitish Kumar greets electoral strategist Prashant Kishor after he joined JD(U) during party's state executive meeting at Anne Marg, in Patna, Sunday, Sept 16, 2018. (PTI Photo)(PTI9_16_2018_000034B)
Patna: BJP’s Bihar ally JD(U) has said that if the party brings an ordinance on temple construction in Ayodhya, it will not support it. While JD(U)’s organisational general secretary RCP Singh said his party would not support any ordinance on a temple, JD(U) national vice-president Prashant Kishor said BJP would win elections without “raising temple issue” and the saffron party’s popularity had surely slumped from its 2014 position.
The state BJP unit, however, countered its alliance partner to say that a “temple would be constructed soon” as it has been part of BJP’s manifesto.
JD(U) organisational general secretary RCP Singh said, “If BJP brings an ordinance on temple construction, we are not going to support it. We have always talked about social cohesion and communal harmon.” This is the first time a JD(U) leader is speaking publicly on the temple issue.
Kishor, meanwhile, answering a question on the renewed demand for Ram temple construction at Ayodhya, said, “BJP can win the election (2019 polls) without raising the temple issue. It had done so in 2014. I was assisting the party then. It has surely shown a slump from 2014 position but it is still stronger than its positions before 2004 and 2009 Lok Sabha polls”. He, however, did not hint at JD(U) redrawing its strategy in wake of Assembly poll results in five states. “The situation is not so alarming for BJP”, said Kishor.
JD(U) spokesperson Neeraj Kumar, commenting on the issue of communalism, said, “NDA in Bihar has been the following development agenda set by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. The CM has often talked about not making any compromise with issues of communalism, even recently at a Kishanganj function.”
Asked if the JD(U) has become more aggressive after BJP’s poor show in recent Assembly polls, Neeraj Kumar said, “Every poll has a message for winners and losers. As for Bihar, our focus has to be on development with peace and communal harmony.”
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Bihar BJP spokesperson Rajib Ranjan, however, countered its alliance partner. “Everyone knows temple construction has been part of our manifesto. The construction will begin soon…recent assembly election results will not make us withdraw our strategy. Assembly polls are fought on local issues. We got more votes than Congress in Madhya Pradesh and only 47,000-odd votes behind in Rajasthan. Our PM is still popular. Prashant Kishor is not right in saying that we have got weaker from 2014 position”.