Bharatiya Janata Party leader Vinay Katiyar on Tuesday compared the proposed Ramayana museum in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh to a "lollipop" to placate advocates of a Ram temple in Ayodhya. Katiyar, who had led the Ram temple movement in the city in the 1990s, said the Centre should instead make efforts to construct the temple. He told ANI, "We should be trying to build a Ram temple. We won't be happy with this lollipop. Wherever I go in Ayodhya, saints ask me when the Ram mandir will be built."

Katiyar's remarks came as Union Tourism Minister Mahesh Sharma visited the proposed plot for the museum, around 15 km from the disputed Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi site. The BJP MP had also demanded the introduction of a Bill in the Lok Sabha to authorise the construction of the temple. "The Ram temple was a part of the BJP's election manifesto," he had said.

The parliamentarian found support in Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti and BJP leader Subramanian Swamy. While Bharti had demanded the construction of a Ram temple on the disputed piece of land in Ayodhya, Swamy had said a Ram temple will ensure a win for the part in the Uttar Pradesh polls next year, reported The Times of India.

The tourism minister's visit has revived the controversial subject of the Ram temple and attracted a lot of criticism from Opposition parties. The Congress, Bahujan Samaj Party and the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam have all accused the ruling party at the Centre of attempting to rake up the Ram temple issue before the 2017 Assembly elections in the state. Sharma, however, said his visit was part of the central government's efforts to "improve tourism in Ayodhya and all over the country".