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Sidharth Nath Singh says Swami Brahma Yogananda had said Narendra Modi will become Prime Minister and has now predicted construction of the temple by 2019

Reviving the BJP’s decades-old communally divisive agenda of constructing a Ram Mandir in Ayodhya at the site of the Babri Masjid demolition, Uttar Pradesh’s health minister Sidharth Nath Singh has said that an astrologer who had predicted Narendra Modi elevation as India’s prime minister has now said that a grand Ram Temple will be erected before 2019.

Asserting that people who were initially against the idea of constructing a Ram Mandir at the disputed Ram Janmbhoomi-Babri Masjid site in Ayodhya have now come around to wish for the construction of the temple, Singh said: “Swami Brahma Yogananda had predicted Modi ji will become PM, and he has now predicted a grand Ram Temple before 2019.”

Singh’s comments come at a time when the Uttar Pradesh government, under the chief ministership of Gorakhpur peeth’s head priest Yogi Adityanath, is increasingly endorsing grand celebrations of Hindu festivals. The state, which had seen a spurt of communal violence in the run up to assembly elections that were held earlier this year, is witnessing renewed bids of asserting the religious identity of Hindus.

Shortly after Singh’s comments, Adityanath too claimed that the “people want construction of a Ram Temple” but added that the matter was currently subjudice. The Supreme Court is presiding over a bunch of petitions demanding a construction of the temple at the site of the Babri Masjid demolition while several Islamic organisations too have moved the court against these petitions

The Adityanath government had recently decided to hold Diwali celebrations on a large scale in Ayodhya next month, in what is being seen as a first for a government in UP. The celebrations, which will be held at the banks of the Saryu river in Ayodhya, will be attended by the CM, Governor Ram Naik, as well as the state cabinet and government officials. Earlier the chief minister had endorsed grand celebrations of janmasthami at police stations across the state.

The UP chief minister has also made it clear that he will increase his visits to Ayodhya – a comment that is seen as an indication of the government’s endorsement of efforts to build the Ram temple in the historic city and fulfill its agenda that dates back to 1989. The BJP’s quest for building a Ram Mandir in Ayodhya had led to the demolition of the 16th century Babri Masjid on December 6, 1992 by BJP kar sevaks led by party leaders like LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharti – all of whom are currently facing a renewed trial in cases linked with this dark chapter in India’s history that triggered nationwide communal riots.

On July 6 this year, at least three trucks of red stones were brought for building the Ram temple in Ayodhya, under the supervision of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP). The carving of stones for the temple is being done under the supervision of an organisation of VHP, ‘Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas’ and saints.

In August this year, the Supreme Court had said that it will commence final hearing of the long-standing Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title dispute from December 5, a day before the 25th anniversary of the demolition of the medieval-era structure.

The apex court, after an intense deliberation for more than one-and-half-hours on August 12, reached a consensus on commencement of the hearing on a total of 13 appeals filed against the 2010 judgement of the Allahabad High Court in four civil suits.

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