Ram Temple a Matter of Faith, Not Poll Issue
BJP president Amit Shah has announced Keshav Prasad Maurya, the first BJP Lok Sabha MP from Phulpur — Jawahar Lal Nehru’s constituency — as the chief of the party’s Uttar Pradesh unit. A whole-timer with Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP), Maurya has participated in the Ram Temple agitation and also been proactive in cow-protection activities in the state. Maurya tells Ravish Tiwari that there should be a Ram Temple in Ayodhya, but added that BJP will move on this issue according to its election manifesto of 2014. Excerpts:
There were several other contenders for this post; don’t you think your selection would create a heartburn among some of them who are senior to you in the state unit? This doesn’t happen in the BJP. Everyone is a BJP worker. Every worker is a contender whether it is for a ticket to contest elections or some organisational posts before they are finalised. But once a decision is taken, ultimately everyone has to go by the decision of the party. But, many of those contenders are senior to you in party organisation... They remain my seniors. I will seek their cooperation and guidance. With their cooperation, my job is to get the BJP into the power after 2017 UP elections.
Do you envisage a chief minister candidate for 2017 UP elections? Right now it has been a decision about BJP organisation. I have been given the responsibility of BJP organisation. It is for the (central) leadership to decide whom to make a CM candidate or not. But, BJP will get a clear majority and form the next government in UP.
You have been associated with the VHP. What is your current view on Ram Temple? We worship Lord Ram. A grand temple must be built at Ramjanmabhumi. There are three avenues available for it: with consensus, or with court verdict, or with mutual consent, whatever works. There should be a Ram Temple.
You have been a Kar Sevak during Ram Temple agitation, do you think
So, you think it will not be an issue during 2017 UP polls? No, I do not think so that this will be an issue. BJP’s position on this issue is spelled out in our election manifesto (of 2014). We will go by our manifesto.
There are two main political opponents for you in UP — Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party. Which of the two is a bigger challenge for you? I think that it is for them to decide. Both of them will have to contest with the BJP. BJP will be ahead of them…
Their position will be same as that was during 2014 Lok Sabha elections. BJP will continue its march with full strength.