BJP MP Sakshi Maharaj, who has time and again courted controversy with his statements, on May 26 said a Ram temple will come up in Ayodhya and that the work to give it a "grand look" will be completed "by 2019, before Lok Sabha polls".

"There was a Ram temple in Ayodhya and it will exist there in the future too, and with a grand look.

"The work to give it a grand look will be completed by 2019, before Lok Sabha polls," Maharaj told reporters in Unnao. Replying to a question, the Unnao MP said that the Ram temple was not an issue concerning BJP, but saints like him.

Babri Mosque that was destroyed by Kar Sevaks | Source: Wikipedia

"It's not an issue for BJP, but for us saints. During Ram temple movement, we asked all the political parties to support us, but only BJP supported us.

"As far as temple construction is concerned, there is Ramlalla there and will remain there. Now, no one would be allowed to keep a single stone in the name of Babri," he said.

The controversy-prone BJP MP had earlier this month kicked up a row when he called Rahul Gandhi "mad" in an attempt to ridicule the Congress Vice President's attempts to reach out to distressed farmers.

Maharaj was before that at the centre of another controversy when he asked Hindu women to have at least four children. Those comments had sparked condemnation by the opposition, which alleged that the ruling party was trying to polarise the atmosphere.

BJP for its part had distanced itself from the remarks of Maharaj and urged its workers and public representatives to refrain from making such comments.

Maharaj had also stoked a row by describing Mahatma Gandhi's assassin Nathuram Godse as a "patriot". He was forced to apologise in Parliament for that remark.

Babri Masjid riots | Source: blogs.halabol.com

Union Minister Shripad Naid added that government will assist in building the temple. " The government is ready to help in the construction of Ram Mandir (at Ayodhya). But the issue should be resolved mutually (amicably). The government can provide help, but the actual construction should be done by organisations which are fighting for it," reported the Economic Times.

Naik's statements came a day after the VHP and RSS pushed for the construction of the Ram temple, asserting that the government must fulfil its election promises.

" We consider this as a work for nation...the issue is currently subjudice. If land is available, then the temple can be constructed," the minister added.

It was not too long ago that this very issue sparked a communal fuse, that resulted in a long chain of communal riots around the country - and the death of 2000 individuals. The government promised the country it would rebuild the Ram temple in its original location in Ayodhya despite the outcry from the Muslim minority.

(With inputs from PTI)

Feature image source: khabar.ibnlive.com