The chorus for bringing a law to build a Ram temple in Ayodhya grew louder on Monday following the Supreme Court's decision to defer hearing on Ram Janmabhoomi land dispute case to January.
While Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh spokesperson Arun Kumar said the court should deliver an early verdict and the government should make a law to remove hurdles in the way of giving land for a temple if required, the Sangh's affiliate Vishwa Hindu Parishad was more blunt, saying Hindus cannot wait eternally for judicial verdict as it pushed for a legislation.
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, which has been looking at the issue as a potential rallying point for its voters during the Lok Sabha polls, maintained silence, but its leaders like Union minister Giriraj Singh and former minister Sanjeev Baliyan said they were for an early construction of the temple at the site where the Hindu god was believed to be born.
Speaking in Mumbai hours after the court's decision, Kumar said the RSS believes a grand Ram temple should be constructed soon by allotting the land at the disputed site for this purpose.
"With this in view, the Supreme Court should make an early decision and if there are any difficulties, the government should make a law to remove all hurdles in the way of giving land for temple at the Ram Janmabhoomi site," he said.
With the construction of the temple, an atmosphere of unity and harmony will be created, he said, in a repeat of sentiments expressed by RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat recently.
Bhagwat in his Dussehra address at Nagpur had first given a call for bringing a law to build a temple, and the demand has since then intensified with other RSS affiliates and BJP leaders echoing his view.
VHP's working president Alok Kumar said the apex court's decision to adjourn the hearing on the case has "fortified" the organisation's stand that the solution to the Ram Janambhoomi issue is not in eternally waiting for hearing of appeals pending for over seven years.
"We reiterate our request to the Union government to enact a law to clear the way for building a grand temple of Lord Ram at his birthplace in Ayodhya," Alok Kumar said.
This may be done in the coming winter session of Parliament, the head of the RSS affiliate said, adding that the Hindutva organisation will intensify its campaign for such a legislation if the government does not act.
The organisation has called a two-day 'Dharam Sansad', a meeting of seers, on January 31 and February 1 next year to discuss the Ram temple issue.
BJP president Amit Shah is also expected to attend the meeting, which will come less than three months before the start of the Lok Sabha polls.
The saffron party has so far not taken a clear stand on the demand for a law but its leaders have pointed out that this is one of the legitimate measures to end the dispute which has been going on in courts for many decades.
Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram, however, said it was a familiar story every five years before the elections when the BJP tries to polarise the issue.
"The Congress's stated position is that the matter is before the Supreme Court and everyone should wait until the Supreme Court decides... We should not jump the gun," he told reporters.
To a question on possibility of an ordinance for construction of the temple, he said the ordinance has to be decided by the government and not by Parliament.
"If someone asks for an ordinance, the Prime Minister has to respond to them, but as you know, he will not respond to any issue," he said.
Another Congress leader Anand Sharma said, "Everyone should patiently wait for the Supreme Court verdict. Congress party has stated that it will welcome and accept the Supreme Court verdict."
He said religion is a matter of faith and linking this issue to the vote bank politics will be a disservice to the nation.
The All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul Muslimeen leader Asaddudin Owaisi dared the government to bring an ordinance, saying the BJP refers to the Ram Temple again and again.
"If they have the courage, they should bring an Ordinance on Ram Temple construction. They are trying to scare us about bringing an Ordinance, why don't they bring it," he said.
Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters that the government has full faith in the court but added that a lot of people in the country want that the hearing on the issue should be completed soon.
BJP's bickering estranged ally Shiv Sena also stressed that the Ram temple is an issue of faith and demanded that the government come out with an Ordinance soon.
BJP leader Vinay Katiyar alleged that the issue was being delayed "under pressure" from the Congress, which has denied the charge, while Giriraj Singh said Hindus are running out of patience.
A three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, has said earlier in the day that an appropriate bench will decide the future course of hearing in January next year on the Ayodhya land dispute case.
"We will fix the date of hearing of the Ayodhya dispute case before the appropriate bench in January," said the bench, which also comprised Justices S K Kaul and K M Joseph.
Earlier, a three-judge bench, by a 2:1 majority, had refused to refer to a five-judge constitution bench the issue of reconsideration of the observations in its 1994 judgment that a mosque was not integral to Islam. The matter had arisen during the hearing of the Ayodhya land dispute.
An apex court bench headed by then Chief Justice Dipak Misra said the civil suit has to be decided on the basis of evidence, adding that the previous verdict has no relevance to this issue.
Communist Party of India leader D Raja said the matter is sub judice but the BJP leaders are making statements regarding the temple construction through ordinance route.
"We are not an autocratic system, democratic institutions should take cognisance of these kinds of statements," he said.
Raja's party colleague Sudhakar Reddy said the CPI is against 'ordinance-raj' and the government should wait for the court judgment.
"We will abide by the court decision on the issue," he said.