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Swamy, a Rajya Sabha MP from BJP says his organisation Virat Hindustan Sangam will also work towards building a temple dedicated to Sita in Bihar’s Sitamarhi

The Supreme Court may begin hearing a bunch of petitions on the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmbhoomi title suit only on December 5 but it seems that BJP leaders have had a premonition that the verdict, expected to be delivered by a Bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, will pave the way for construction of a Ram Mandir at the disputed site.

Weeks after Uttar Pradesh health minister Sidharth Nath Singh quoted an astrologer while asserting that the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya will be completed by 2019, BJP’s Rajya Sabha member Subramanian Swamy has now claimed that construction of the contentious temple will be completed by Diwali next year.

It is largely expected that the Supreme Court will finish hearing in the petitions filed by various organisations and individuals – including one by Swamy – in the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmbhoomi title suit before October 2 next year as Chief Justice Dipak Misra is set to retire then.

Swamy, who has been a huge votary of the Ram Mandir and the BJP’s divisive Hindutva agenda, has also claimed that the Virat Hindustan Sangam (VHS) – an organisation he founded in 2015 – will help build a temple dedicated to Sita – Lord Ram’s wife – in Bihar’s Sitamarhi town. Sitamarhi is believed to be the birthplace of Sita.

Speaking at a seminar organised by the VHS in Patna on Sunday, Swamy also claimed that for the BJP to retain power in 2019, it was “essential” that the party doesn’t lose sight of “the ideology of Hindutva”.

“Construction of the (Ram) temple is likely to begin sooner than later. This week we will be celebrating Diwali and by next Diwali the Ram temple is likely to be ready to receive devotees,” Swamy said at the seminar.

“A Ram temple will be built at Ayodhya and a Sita temple at Sitamarhi. It is impossible to think of Maryada Purushottam Shri Ram without his companion Jagat Janani Janaki. The temple will be the best in Asia and a university will be established there (Sitamarhi) in her name to study ancient Indian thought and values,” Swamy claimed.

Swamy’s comments come at a time when the BJP leadership is aggressively working towards reviving its politically polarising narrative of construction of the Ram Temple at the site where the Babri Masjid once stood in Ayodhya before it was razed to the ground by a mob of BJP-RSS karsevaks on December 6, 1992 under the patronage of BJP veterans LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharati.

Recently, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath too had reiterated his party’s decades-old ‘promise’ of constructing a Ram Temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya while qualifying his comments by stating that the title suit was still pending in the Supreme Court and that his party was hopeful of a favourable verdict.

The Yogi Adityanath government is also planning to erect a 100-meter tall statue of Lord Ram on the banks of the Saryu river in Ayodhya.

The BJP’s return to the plank of constructing a “grand Ram Mandir” in Ayodhya – a poll promise that saw the party gain national prominence in the 1990s following the demolition of the Babri Masjid – perhaps shows that the party is not willing to give up its Hindutva agenda entirely in favour of its oft-quoted plank of development and good governance. That these statements from leaders like Swamy, Adityanath and Sidharth Nath Singh come at a time when the party faces uphill electoral battles in Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat are a pointer towards this theory.

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