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Ram temple should be built by mutual consent: Gadkari

The Ram temple should be built in Ayodhya through mutual consent, and is not a "communal or religious" issue, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said Tuesday.

The senior BJP leader also said that the issue is linked to India's rich culture, heritage and history.

"Ayodhya issue is not a communal issue and is not religious as well. Lord Rama is symbol of our history, culture and heritage. It has been proven that temple was there. If Ram temple cannot be built at birth place in Hindustan then where should it be? Crores of people's sentiments and desire is that Ram temple should be built there," Gadkari said at a conclave by Aaj Tak news channel.

The minister said this sentiment was earlier also in Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) agenda and remains at present as well.

"There are three ways for it - matter is in court, it can be through mutual consent or by any decision in Parliament through 2/3rd majority. But I believe it should happen through mutual consent. our fabric is 'sarvadharma sambhav'. it should be based on this," Gadkari, who holds several key portfolios in the Cabinet, said.

He said even large number of people in Muslim community are in favour of settling the issue.

"The matter is in (the) Supreme Court ... they have the right to decide. I personally feel that the matter reached court as it was not solved at political level. If court tries to find out a way then it can find out a way......mutual consent is the way out and it can be solved," the minister said.

On assembly election results of the three states in the Hindi heartland, Gadkari said winning or losing is part of democracy.

"Anything can happen in cricket and politics," he said, adding that while vote percentage margin was negligible in one state election, anti-incumbency factors were there in others, but BJP will look into all aspects and reform it.

Rejecting that these results in any way would impact the Lok Sabha results, Gadkari said his party was confident of a being victor in 2019 with a reasonable and comfortable margin.

He said: "Development" was the main agenda of the Modi government and it had done unparallel work in last 4.5 years, which has no match to the work done in the past 50 years.

In reply to a query that he was being viewed as a consensus candidate for the post of PM, Gadkari said party was doing tremendous work under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and neither there is any such possibility nor any aspiration.

On Rafale, he said, the Supreme Court has already given verdict on it that it was a transparent deal but Congress was not ready to accept this clear judgement.

He further added that the Rafale deal will not be an election issue. 

In reply to a query, he said, Shiv Sena-BJP relations were good as it is based on on Hindutva and there are no ideological differences. 

"BJP wants alliance. our CM is working towards it. It is up to them (Shiv Sena) if they want ruling alliance or opposition, they have to decide. Our feeling is this alliance will be in the interest of Maharashtra and BJP," he said.

The minister also said that announcements to not to contest elections by senior leaders like Sushma Swaraj and Uma Bharti should not be linked to election prospects.

He also urged media to portray anything in totality and urged them to caution exercise when it comes to national interest, citing how the US media did not show bodies during 9/11 attack, while a section of Indian media during the Bombay attacks showed operations by security forces benefitting terrorists.



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