Union Tourism Minister and Bharatiya Janata Party leader Mahesh Sharma (pictured above) will inspect the proposed site for a Ramayana museum in Uttar Pradesh’s Ayodhya on Tuesday. The move brought back the controversial topic of of Ram temple and attracted lot of criticism from Opposition parties, reported PTI.

Parties such as the Bahujan Samaj Party, Congress and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam unitedly accused the BJP of attempting to rake up the Ram temple issue before the Assembly elections in the state next year in 2017. BSP chief Mayawati asked why the Narendra Modi-led government at the Centre was considering developing the museum “just before the Assembly polls”. “Linking religion with politics and electoral gains by these governments is condemnable,” said Mayawati.

Congress leader RPN Singh accused the BJP of trying to reap political gains through the move. “Whenever polls are in the state, they talk of Ram, Ram temple, Ram sangrahalaya. They repeatedly raise these issues,” Singh said. However, Sharma insisted that the construction of the museum had nothing to do with politics.

The Union minister said his visit was part of the Centre’s efforts to “improve tourism in Ayodhya and all over the country”. Sharma's comment came even as other BJP leaders such as Uma Bharti and Vinay Katiyar demanded the construction of a Ram temple on the disputed piece of land in Ayodhya. Katiyar demanded the introduction of a Bill in the Lok Sabha to authorise the construction of the temple. “The Ram temple was also a part of the BJP’s election manifesto,” he added.