Manish Chandra Pandey Updated: Sep 09, 2018
Uttar Pradesh minister Mukut Bihari Verma sparked a controversy on Saturday with his comments that the Ram temple will be built in Ayodhya because “the Supreme Court is ours”.
“Mandir hamara aradhya hai .. mandir banega .. mandir bananey ki liye hum log sankalpbadh hai (Temple is our resolve. It will surely come up and we are all committed to it),” he said, talking to journalists in Bahraich on Saturday.
When a journalist reminded him that the verdict in the temple case in the Supreme Court is yet to be delivered, the minister casually said, “Supreme Court main hain tabhi toh! .. Supreme Court bhi toh hamara hi hai na, Supreme Court bhi hamara hai … nyay palika bhi hamari hai .. Vidhan Palika bhi hamari hai .. yeh desh bhi hamara hai .. mandir bhi hamara hai (yes, precisely because the matter is with Supreme Court. The Supreme Court is ours, isn’t it? The judiciary is ours, the country is ours and the temple is ours too).”
Verma, a four-term BJP lawmaker from Bahraich, is the minister for cooperatives.
Some in the opposition felt that such remarks were a deliberate attempt to keep the temple issue in the news in the hope it would help polarise the atmosphere ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
As his remark started being played out on news channels, Verma told HT on the phone that he was quoted out of context. But in his bid to explain, the minister again ended up repeating the same statement.
“I merely meant that the Supreme Court too is part of this country and belongs to us and that we are sure the temple will come up in Ayodhya,” he explained. “Humne kya galat kaha ki Supreme Court bhi hamara hai … arrey bhai hamara toh sabhi kuchh hai … jab yeh desh hamara hai toh sabhi kuchh hamara hi hai na (What wrong did I say? If the country is ours, then so is the SC and everything else),” he said.
When told that the judiciary was neutral and that his remarks could be construed wrongly, he said, “Of course we all have deep respect for the courts. I have been an advocate too and hence I know this for sure.”
UP’s labour minister Swami Prasad Maurya, who was sitting by Mukut Bihari Verma’s side in Bahraich, refused to comment on the controversy.
The opposition parties, including the Samajwadi Party and the Congress, attacked the BJP over the remarks, saying they showed how disrespectful and arrogant the ministers have become.
“We all hold the courts in the highest esteem but even if you consider that the minister meant something else, the casual approach with which the remarks have been made show that now the ministers in UP don’t think while making a statement. The minister needs to apologise to the nation, which has great faith in the judiciary,” said Tariq Siddiqui of the Samajwadi Party.
“The remark is dangerous and shows the growing arrogance of BJP ministers and their total lack of respect for constitutional bodies,” said Congress leader Devendra Pratap Singh.
Last month, deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya had said the BJP government at the Centre could consider bringing a legislation on Ram temple if the matter was not resolved in the court. ( HT )