The Uttar Pradesh government led by Adityanath is likely to announce the construction of a 151-metre tall Ram statue in Ayodhya next week, reports said. The statue is likely to be built on the banks of the Sarayu river, Times Now reported. The government has been under pressure recently to push for the building of a Ram temple in Ayodhya after the Supreme Court pushed the matter to January.
The reports come soon after the prime minister unveiled a 182-metre tall statue of Vallabhbhai Patel in Narmada district, Gujarat. The statue is currently the world’s tallest.
An official told the Hindustan Times that the proposed statue of Ram will be 151-metres tall and its platform 50 metres, making the overall height 201 metres.
Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya refused to commit to a date for the construction of a Ram temple, the English daily reported. “But yes, who can stop us from coming up with a grand statue of the Lord in Ayodhya? Who can stop us from developing the temple town?” he said. “What we can assure now is that nobody will be able to make anything in Ayodhya in the name of Babar,” he said according to NDTV.
Union minister Uma Bharti on Sunday claimed that any talk of constructing a mosque on the periphery of the Ram temple would make Hindus “intolerant”, PTI reported. “Hindus are the most tolerant community in the world,” she said. “I will appeal to all politicians: please don’t make Hindus intolerant by talking about building a mosque on the outer periphery of the birthplace of Lord Ram in Ayodhya.”
Emphasising the need for an out-of-court settlement, Bharti urged all political leaders to support the movement. “We need support of all political parties on this issue,” she said. “I invite all leaders including Rahul Gandhiji, come let’s lay the foundation stone of the Ram temple with me.”
At a meeting in Gorakhpur, Chief Minister Adityanath on October 31 had said that he would arrive in Ayodhya with “good news”. The Bharatiya Janata Party leader is scheduled to address an event on November 6, with South Korean first lady Kim Jung-sook as chief guest, the Hindustan Times reported.
The idea has already received flak from the Congress. Senior party leader Shashi Tharoor on Saturday said the BJP was bringing up matters like Ayodhya, a Ram temple and Ram statue to distract from the failures of the government, PTI reported. “The issues of Statue of Unity, Ram temple, Ram statue at Ayodhya are distractions. I would urge the public of India to move away from these distractions and focus on the realities and lives of the Indians,” he said.