Senior Congress leader and former Union Minister Manish Tewari on Friday said that Ram Temple fund collection by party's student wing National Students' Union of India (NSUI) underscores once again for a "candid and conceptual" discussion within the Congress party on a host of core ideological issues.
The Anandpur Sahib MP's comments comes days after NSUI's Rajasthan president Abhishek Chaudhary launched a collection drive named 'Rs 1 Ram Ke Naam' at Commerce College at Jawaharlal Nehru Road in Jaipur. The party had to distance itself from it claiming that it is a secular party.
Taking to Twitter, Manish Tewari shared a media report about the incident and asked, "As INC is a secular party: Does Secularism mean separation of Church and State or Sarv Dharam Sambhav?"
The campaign was launched on Tuesday to collect money from students for the construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya, claiming that the BJP and ABVP have been looting people in the name of raising fund for the temple.
About the fund-raising campaign for the Ram Temple, NSUI spokesperson Ramesh Bhati said, "The ABVP and BJP have been looting people in the name of contribution for the Ram Mandir. We will oppose this with our initiative because Ram temple is a matter of faith for all and taking lakhs and crores of rupees from people is wrong."
Around 100 members of the student wing of the Congress party collected contributions from students in the college in three sealed boxes on the first day. All colleges in the state will be covered under this 15-day campaign and the NSUI will hand over the amount collected during the initiative to the Ram temple authorities in Ayodhya, Bhati said.
Asked about the NSUI's fundraising campaign, Congress national treasurer Bansal in the PCC office said he was not aware of it. He alleged the way, the BJP has conducted itself after the foundation stone laying for the temple, it appears it wanted to usurp all the credit for the temple construction.
"That is why when people approached me for contribution to the Ram temple construction, I gave nothing," he said. "Congress is a secular party. We are religious and religion is the matter of personal faith. I am a Hindu as far as personal faith is concerned, but in the public matter, we act as per the mandate of Constitution," he said.
(With PTI inputs)