Not surprised by Priyanka Gandhi's statement on Ram temple: Pinarayi

Not surprised by Priyanka Gandhi's statement on Ram temple: Pinarayi

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Wednesday said he was not surprised by Priyanka Gandhi Vadra's statement on the 'bhumi pujan' ceremony of the Ram temple in Ayodhya and said the country would not have been facing such a situation today if Congress had a "definite stand" on secularism.

He said the Congress party's stand in the Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid issue is part of history and that the grand old party had remained a "mute spectator" while the mosque was destroyed.

Priyanka Gandhi had on Tuesday hoped that the foundation stone laying ceremony "becomes a celebration of national unity, brotherhood and cultural harmony".

For ages Lord Ram's character has served as a source of unity for the entire Indian subcontinent, she had said.

"I am not surprised by Priyanka Gandhi's stand in this matter. The Congress party's stand during the period of Rajiv Gandhi and then Narasimha Rao are all part of history. If the Congress had a definite stand on secularism, the country would not have been facing such a situation today," the chief minister told reporters.

Asked for his reaction to the foundation stone laying ceremony of Ram temple in Ayodhya on Wednesday by Prime Minister Narendra Modi he said the state was now worried about overcoming COVID-19 and would worry about such things later.

"Today, COVID-19 cases in the country has crossed the 19 lakh. We need to think about how to overcome this pandemic. We also need to worry about how we would support those who are financially affected due to this pandemic.

The state government is trying to take steps to mitigate the sufferings of the people.

Not surprised by Priyanka Gandhi's statement on Ram temple: Pinarayi

We will think about such things first and the rest of the matter later," the chief minister said.

He said both Priyanka and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi always had a "soft hindutva stand".

"Who allowed the worship inside the Babri masjid? It was the Congress. Who allowed shilanyas? It was the congress government...Above all, who sat idle when the masjid was destroyed by the Sangh Parivar? It was the Congress Prime Minister Narashimha Rao-led central government. It was the Congress which stood as a mute spectator while Babri Masjid was destroyed," Pinarayi said.

The chief minister also said that the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), a coalition partner of opposition UDF, was also closely associated with the Congress during all this time.

The state Congress is yet to make clear its stand on Priyanka's statement while a miffed IUML passed a resolution expressing its displeasure.

IUML, the second-biggest constituent of the UDF in Kerala, on Wednesday "expressed its displeasure" over Priyanka's statements.

After an emergency meeting of its top brass, called in wake of several Congress leaders, including Priyanka Gandhi, supporting the Ayodhya programme, senior IUML leader and MP P K Kunhalikutty told the media that they have passed a resolution against the statement of Gandhi.

Soon after this, Congress General Secretary K C Venugopal called up Kunhalikutty and said that they are open for a discussion to sort out the issue.

The Supreme Court in 2019 had delivered a landmark verdict on the century-old dispute. The apex court said that a temple will come up on the 2.77 acres of disputed land in Ayodhya and a five-acre plot at an alternate site will go for the building of a mosque.

To know more about the Ayodhya verdict, read Retracing the Ayodhya Case.

(With inputs from PTI)

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