Speaking on one of the BJP's main election manifesto promises - the building of a Ram Mandir' on the disputed 'Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid' site, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has said that a grand Ram Mandir will be built, in an exclusive interview with Republic Media Network's Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami.
Fadnavis was asked why the BJP government did not pass an ordinance to build a Ram Mandir despite their ally Shiv Sena's demand.
"You said that the 'Ram Mandir' is not a political issue in Maharashtra. But the truth is that it is a part of your manifesto. Three thousand members of your ally- Shiv Sena made it an issue and they marched to Ayodhya. Was that a 'drama'? Why was that 'drama'? That was a drama because you wanted to build a hope of Ram Mandir in people so that people still believe that Ram Mandir is an issue. If Ram Mandir was an issue, then why did you not introduce an ordinance despite Shiv Sena's demand?," Arnab Goswami asked.
To this, explaining the origins of the Ram Mandir issue, Fadnavis said that 'Ram Mandir is not an issue to fool around using an ordinance', adding that they did not have the required numbers in Rajya Sabha.
"First of all, you must understand that Ram Mandir in Ayodhya was made on December 6, 1992. Now we have to build a magnificent Ram Mandir. Ram Mandir already exists there. As far as the ordinance is concerned, how long does an ordinance last? For six months. We do not have a majority in the Rajya Sabha. What will happen after six months? Will you fool people by passing an ordinance? Will you tell them that we have done our bit by passing an ordinance? This will not happen. Ram Mandir is not an issue to fool around. The case is in the Supreme Court. After High Court's decision and the evidence presented in the Supreme Court, I am sure that the decision will be in the favour of Ram Mandir and a grand Ram Mandir will be built."
In the exclusive interview on Republic Bharat, Fadnavis had talked on various issues ranging from Sadhvi Pragya's candidacy, the questions raised on Rahul Gandhi's citizenship, to the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill among others.
The third phase of Lok Sabha elections is scheduled on April 23 in which Maharashtra will vote for 15 constituencies - Jalgaon, Raver, Jalna, Aurangabad, Raigad, Pune, Baramati, Ahmednagar, Madha, Sangli, Satara, Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg, Kolhapur, and Hatkanangle. The votes will be counted for all the constituencies on May 23, 2019, and the results will be announced on the same day.