NEW DELHI -- Instead of a last ditch effort by the Modi government to push its critical Goods And Services Tax Bill, the final day of the Winter Session was monopolised by the arrival of the latest batch of stones for the construction of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya.
The curtain fell on a stormy four weeks of Parliament, with the 11 Bills being passed in the Bharatiya Janata Party-majority Lok Sabha and the three in the Rajya Sabha.
The Upper House was disrupted today by lawmakers questioning the Vishwa Hindu Parishad's collection of stones for the Ram Temple since the matter of disputed land on which the Babri Masjid stood until 1992 is still pending before the Supreme Court.
Attacking the Modi government, the Bharatiya Janata Party, and the ruling Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh, political rivals blamed the BJP and SP for embarking on a campaign of communal polarisation ahead of the 2017 State Election.
"Whenever the election is due in Uttar Pradesh, they always want to divide the society on a communal basis," Sharad Yadav, president of Janata Dal (United), told reporters.
Local reports suggest that the arrival of stones in Ayodhya is making Muslims uneasy in Uttar Pradesh.
Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said that the Modi government and the BJP is waiting for the Supreme Court decision, but there was no ban on carving stones, which had been going on 1.5 kilometers away from the disputed site since 1990.
"Please wait for court decision. All of us should respect it," he said.
In September 2010, the High Court of Allahabad ruled that the disputed land in Ayodhya shall be divided into three parts:one-third to the party for 'Ram Lalla,' one-third for the Sunni Waqf Board, and one-third for the Nirmohi Akhara.
Several parties including the Akhil Bhartiya Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Samiti and the Sunni Waqf Board have challenged the verdict of the Allahabad High Court.
'There Will Be A Temple'
Living up to his reputation of adding fuel to fire, Yogi Adityanath, BJP's firebrand lawmaker in Uttar Pradesh, said that a temple would be constructed in Ayodhya.
"It is not a question of polarisation," he said. "There was a temple in Ayodhya, there is a temple, and there will be a temple."
Adityanath also told the media that the work of polishing and cutting stones has been going on since 1990. "Thousands of trucks of stones have reached Ayodhya from Rajasthan. Why are you making a new propaganda," he said.
Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati, who is credited with gutting religious violence while she was Chief Minister for over a decade, said it was SP's responsibility to control the situation in Ayodhya and guard against brewing tensions. "SP is fully responsible if the wishes of the Supreme Court are violated," she told reporters.
The Akhilesh Yadav-government received a lot of flak for missing the warning signs of communal violence in Muzaffarnagar in August 2013, just months before the national election rolled around.
Arrival Of Stones
On Monday, Press Trust of India reported that two trucks of stones were unloaded at Ram Sewak Puram, a Vishwa Hindu Parishad property in Ayodhya, and 'Shila Pujan' (praying of the stones) has been performed by Mahant Nritya Gopal Das, president of Ram Janam Bhumi Nyas.
"Now, the time has come for the construction of Ram Mandir in Ayodhya. Lots of stones arrived today in Ayodhya and their arrival will continue. We have signals from Modi government that temple construction would be done now," he said.
Meanwhile, the oldest litigant in the Babri Masjid demolition case Hashim Ansari asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to intervene.
"I ask PM Modi to stop all this," he said.
VHP leader Ashok Singhal, who died last month, has previously said that about half of the 2.25 lakhs cubic ft of stones, required for the construction of the Ram Temple, was ready at VHP's headquarter in Ayodhya, and the rest would be collected from Hindu devotees.
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