The Shiv Sena has pressed ahead its demand for a Ram Mandir at Ayodhya in light of BJP party chief Amit Shah's views expressed at the Republic Summit where he had kept faith with the Supreme Court to rule in the matter.
In response to this, Sena MP Sanjay Raut contended that the apex court had deprioritised the Ayodhya case rendering an ordinance as the only feasible solution:
"Amit Shah's belief (that the Supreme Court could rule on the matter within 10 days if it hears the case day-to-day starting January)... we also thought that the court would conduct hearings. But the court doesn't consider the Ram Mandir issue a priority nor does it want to look at the matter seriously. We've seen this in court. So there's only one solution -- ordinance."
Raut then compared it to the recent Rafale hearing where all petitions seeking a court-monitored probe into the deal between France and India for the purchase of multi-role fighter jets were dismissed:
"The Shiv Sena wants it, BJP MPs also want it, RSS also wants it, VHP also wants it -- that you bring an ordinance and start work on the Ram Mandir. This is not the court's job. There can be a hearing on Rafale. A clean chit can be given on Rafale. But Ram Mandir isn't getting a clean chit. This is a very painstaking thing for us. Amit Shah should think and tell the government that in any manner, the government should move towards the Ordinance."
Speaking at the Republic Summit a day earlier, BJP president Amit Shah had said:
"Not only BJP but all of India wants a grand temple to be built in Ayodhya. Government's counsel had sought that the matter be brought expeditiously. Congress lawyer Kapil Sibal said to bring it after 2019. Supreme Court should rule on it quickly. It is important to a lot of people. I believe that in January the hearings will begin. If heard day-to-day it can be done in 10 days. Crores of people believe that the Mandir should be built there"
One point where the Sanjay Raut and Amit Shah both appear to agree, however, is that it is not a matter that the court should decide on. Amit Shah had said, "My personal belief is that matters of religious nature can't be put to judicial review". The BJP chief said this in the context of the Sabarimala verdict, however, not necessarily in the Ayodhya context.
Shah's remarks come at a time when there has been a sustained increase in polemics over the Ram Mandir issue, especially since the Supreme Court decided to put its hearings in the title suit in the case on the backburner till January 2019. The Shiv Sena has been vocal on the topic, with Uddhav Thackeray even leading a Mandir yatra to Ayodhya demanding that the government first build (start building or pave the way for) the temple, and only then seek a mandate from the people. This demand was neatly encapsulated in the Sena's slogan: "Pehle Mandir Phir Sarkar".