Just days after its senior leader Tanveer Sait proposed a statue of Tipu Sultan in Mysuru, the Congress seems to be embracing soft Hindutva.
Senior Congress leader Basavaraj Rayareddy has claimed it was the Congress which opened the doors of Ram Mandir inside the Babri Masjid. The former minister said Rajiv Gandhi was instrumental in allowing the puja to be performed at the sanctum sanctorum.
The leader went on to argue that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is hiding this fact to take all credit for the construction of Ram Mandir.
“They (BJP) claim they are building Ram Mandir. I must clarify that it was Congress’s Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi who opened the doors of Ram Mandir sanctum sanctorum. I repeat, the Ram Mandir which was inside Babri Masjid, it was the Congress which enabled the puja at the place by opening of the doors. That is Congress party’s history. They have hidden this fact,” said Rayareddy.
The statement comes at a time when many within the party fear the Congress might lose Hindu votes because of the Tipu statue controversy. The BJP claims it is being done keeping next year’s assembly elections in mind.
“Why did they not take the initiative to demolish the masjid and restore the temple? Now they want to take credit because PM Modi is building the temple and it is getting attention from all over the world,” argued BJP leader Pramila Nesargi.
The Congress argued that the PV Narasimha Rao government ensured a fair legal process by protecting the then disputed site.
“Rao passed the acquisition of certain areas act 1992 to preserve areas that required judicial adjudication. The Congress government has facilitated fair adjudication. All of a sudden, the BJP claims that it is instrumental in building Ayodhya, which is not correct. The Congress has contributed towards judicial adjudication,” said Sanket Yenagi, Karnataka Congress General Secretary.
With the BJP and Congress likely to intensify their campaign for the 2023 elections in the coming months, Tipu and Ram are likely to dominate the political discourse in Karnataka.
With inputs from News18