Rahul Gandhi has given his views on the Ayodhya Ram Mandir issue for the first time in recent memory, mere hours after the Supreme Court ordered that an appropriate bench to hear the title suit will be constituted by January 10 and pass further orders subsequently.
At the end of his attack on the Modi government on the Rafale matter while addressing reporters at Parliament, the Congress president was asked whether the Ram Mandir would change the narrative of the upcoming 2019 Lok Sabha elections. In response, Rahul Gandhi said that the narrative for the elections was employment, education, healthcare and corruption, and that these would be the agenda issues.
While those who are in favour of the Supreme Court expediting its hearings in the Ayodhya title suit so as to have a quick resolution in the decades-long issue have made their stands well known, the Congress has thus far refrained from addressing the matter openly. It has, nonetheless, via its leaders who are also senior lawyers, told the Supreme Court to only take up the matter after the 2019 elections. The Prime Minister, in his interview to ANI on Jan 1, said that everyone should wait for Supreme Court's say in the matter, and following that, his government would make all efforts to fulfill its 2014 election manifesto promise of building a Ram Mandir in Ayodhya at the site of the Ram Janmabhoomi.
The RSS had welcomed the Prime Minister's statement but also set a deadline, seeking that construction of the Mandir start before this government's tenure ends. The VHP, however, reiterated its demand that the government bring in an ordinance in the matter. BJP party president Amit Shah had at the Republic Summit opined that if the Supreme Court decides to hear the matter on a day-to-day basis, a verdict could be reached as early as in ten days.