A day after the Supreme Court adjourned the final hearing in the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi case to February 8, Bharatiya Janata Party leader from Madhya Pradesh Tapan Bhowmik said the Ayodhya verdict will be in favour of Hindus, and if not, Hindus will ensure that it is, The Indian Express reported on Friday.

“After this verdict, our people in Lok Sabha will make rules and pass a bill to build a temple at the same spot,” Bhowmik, who is also the chairman of the Madhya Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation, claimed at an event in Ratlam on Wednesday. He went on to say that the foundation of the Ram Temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya will be laid by Diwali in 2018.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court took up 13 appeals filed against the Allahabad High Court judgment that ruled a three-way split of the disputed 2.77 acres in Ayodhya among the Sunni Waqf Board, a Hindu organisation called the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla, or Infant Rama, who is represented by the Hindu Mahasabha.

Bhowmik maintains that his remarks were not controversial. “All I said was if the court order is not favourable, the Lok Sabha will pass a law to enable construction of the temple,” he told The Indian Express. “If that, too, does not happen, Hindus will build the temple.”

The Congress immediately criticised the BJP for its leader’s comments. Congress Spokesperson KK Mishra said Bhowmik was challenging the Supreme Court’s authority. “The government and the BJP should make it clear whether it was his personal stand and sack him immediately,” Mishra told the newspaper.

On November 24, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat made a strong pitch to build a temple at the site, saying no other structure would come up there. “It is not a populist declaration but a matter of our faith,” he had said. “It will not change.”

On December 6, 1992, the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya was demolished by lakhs of karsevaks, who had gathered at the site from across the country. The incident had triggered countrywide communal riots.