Yoga guru Ramdev on Friday said the proposed construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh was linked to the nation’s pride, and claimed that Hindu deity Ram was the ancestor of Hindus and Muslims, PTI reported.

Ramdev made the statement while talking to reporters at Nadiad town in Gujarat’s Kheda district, where he attended a yoga camp organised by Santram temple. He claimed that the Ram temple matter was not linked to vote-bank politics.

“I firmly believe that Ram mandir must be built in Ayodhya,” Ramdev said. “If not in Ayodhya, where would you build it? It is obvious that it will not come up at Mecca, Medina or Vatican City. It is an undisputed fact that Ayodhya is Lord Ram’s birthplace.”

The Congress criticised Ramdev and said religious leaders such as him were the beneficiaries of the ruling BJP’s policies. “Such babas have once again come out to help the BJP and Modi government ahead of polls so that more benefits can be reaped for the next five years,” said state Congress spokesperson Manish Doshi.

The Supreme Court is currently hearing the title dispute in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid case. The case, which was scheduled to be heard on January 29, was deferred due to the non-availability of Justice SA Bobde on the five-member Constitution Bench. A new date for the hearing is yet to be announced.

Earlier this month, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat said the Narendra Modi government would ensure the construction of the temple within the next two years. Religious leaders asked Bhagwat for details and created a ruckus at the event in Prayagraj that he was addressing.