Unnao: In what could stoke a fresh controversy, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Member of Parliament (MP) Sakshi Maharaj has called for the demolition of Delhi’s Jama Masjid while asking the people to hang him if idols of Hindu deities are not found beneath the staircase of the mosque.
Addressing a public rally in Uttar Pradesh’s Unnao on Friday, the BJP parliamentarian said, “After entering politics, the first statement I made in Mathura was: Leave Ayodhya, Mathura and Kashi and demolish Delhi’s Jama Masjid. If you do not find Hindu idols beneath its staircase, you are welcome to hang me.”
Maharaj, who is known for making controversial remarks, even cornered the Supreme Court for delaying the verdict on the Ram temple issue.
“I condemn the attitude of the Supreme Court. They delivered verdicts on a number of cases of less significance, but they are deferring the Ayodhya matter. I expect Prime Minister Narendra Modi government to pass a law in Lok Sabha for the construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya. I expect the construction of the temple will start before the 2019 Lok Sabha polls,” he asserted.
Jama Masjid is one of the largest mosques in India built by Shah Jahan between 1644 and 1656.
Maharaj’s statement comes at a time when scores of political leaders are seeking a government ordinance for early construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya.
Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut even questioned as to why the Centre is taking so long to bring an ordinance for construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya when Ram bhakts (devotees) had demolished the Babri Masjid in just 17 minutes.
The Ayodhya dispute has been a talking point of late, a mass gathering by organisations such as the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and some Hindu activists and saints will be held in Ayodhya on Saturday and Sunday. The mega show will coincide with a two-day visit of Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray to the city.
Ayodhya on high alert following intelligence inputs
Ayodhya: Amid VIP movements, Ayodhya has been put on high alert soon after intelligence inputs indicated a possible terror attack in the city.
“We have put more force into action. The force has been alerted. Also, intelligence officials in the civil dress have come here. They are checking all hotels, restaurants and railway stations. The police force is vigilant and keeping a track of all the movements,” Anil Kumar Sisodia, Superintendent of Police City, told ANI.
This comes ahead of Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray’s visit to Ayodhya on Sunday along with his party MPs.
According to reports, the security has also been heightened keeping in mind the hearing on 2005 Ram Janmabhoomi attack on June 18.
Seven died while cleaning hotel sewer in Vadodara
Vadodara: Seven persons, including four sanitation workers, died due to asphyxiation on Saturday while cleaning sewer of a hotel in Gujarat’s Vadodara district, officials said.
The incident happened at a hotel in Fartikui village in Dabhoi tehsil, about 30 km from Vadodara city. Three employees of the hotel were also among those killed.
“When one sanitation worker failed to come out of the manhole, others went inside. All of them died due to asphyxiation,” district collector Kiran Zaveri told PTI.
Manmohan retires from Rajya Sabha
New Delhi: For the first time in 28 years, former prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh’s name ceased to be part of the list of members of the Rajya Sabha on its Web site, and was included in the list of former members of Parliament.
With the Congress lacking the numbers in the Assam legislature to ensure his re-election, 86-year-old Dr Singh retired from the Rajya Sabha.
Dr Singh, then finance minister in the P V Narasimha Rao government, had debuted in the House on October 1, 1991, from Assam and represented the state for five consecutive terms. He was the leader of the House during his 10 years as PM, and leader of the Opposition from 1998 to 2004.The former PM would now need to wait for the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, an ally of the Congress, to send him to the Rajya Sabha next month or until the next biennial elections in the Upper House in April 2020 when 54 MPs retire.
Five Rajya Sabha members from Tamil Nadu retire in July. The DMK, along with its allies, has the strength in the state legislature to get at least three elected to the Rajya Sabha. It has promised one seat to MDMK chief Vaiko.
However, sources said the DMK and the Congress have not had any discussions on the issue.
The Congress could also hope to send Dr Singh to the Upper House from Gujarat if elections to fill the two vacancies from the state take place together.
The vacancies are on account of two Bharatiya Janata Party Rajya Sabha members from Gujarat, Amit Anilchandra Shah and Smriti Zubin Irani, being elected to the Lok Sabha. Shah has debuted in the Lok Sabha from Gandhinagar while Irani is the Lok Sabha member from Amethi in Uttar Pradesh.
The Congress’s numbers in the Gujarat assembly would ensure the party wins one of the two seats, the other going to the BJP, if elections to the two seats are held jointly.