A day before Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray arrives in Ayodhya, the party raised the pitch over the demand for an ordinance on Ram temple, with its leader Sanjay Raut saying 'Ram bhakts' took '17 minutes to demolish' Babri mosque, then how long will the government take to bring in a law for construction of temple at the site.
Questioning the 'delay' in promulgating such an ordinance, he said the government has been unable to build the temple in Ayodhya despite promising people and getting a majority in the 2014 general elections.
"The Babri mosque was demolished in 17 minutes... in about half an hour what needed to be done was done by the Ram bhakts (devotees of Ram)...the blot which was there since years was brought down ," Raut told reporters on Friday, referring to the demolition of the mosque in Ayodhya on December 6, 1992.
"How long does it take to prepare papers... to bring ordinance... from the Rashtrapati Bhawan to Uttar Pradesh Assembly. They are all BJP governments," the Shiv Sena leader said.
Earlier on Friday, the Sena, which is part of the National Democratic Alliance but has had strained ties with ally Bharatiya Janata Party, demanded that the central government come out with an ordinance and declare a date for the construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya.
Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray will visit Ayodhya on Saturday amid a clamour among Hindu outfits for bringing an ordinance to build Ram Temple.
Shiv Sena, which is the part of the BJP-led governments in both Maharashtra and the Centre, has been aggressively pushing for the construction of Ram temple since the party's annual Dussehra rally.
The party has often taunted its ally BJP over the latter's 'failure' to construct the temple in the last four years despite coming to power.
Asked about Sena raising the issue, Raut said, "We have always put at stake our reputation for Hindutva, for temple.... We have promised people that we will construct the temple if we form the government but it has not happened."
"Despite the huge majority in 2014, if our government does not get the temple constructed, and again in 2019, we raise the temple slogan and go to the people, it is unacceptable to Uddhavji," Raut said.
Demanding that the government bring in a bill in Parliament over the issue, he said, "We will support it. I assure you if a bill is brought on the issue, 400 MPs, across party lines, will support it"
Raut also reiterated Thackeray's slogan of "Mandir pehle, phir sarkar (first the temple, then the government).
In an editorial in party mouthpiece Saamana, the Sena said it neither moves around with a begging bowl asking for votes in the name of Lord Ram nor does it indulge in 'jumlebaazi' (rhetoric) during polls.
"Why did those, who call themselves pro-Hindutva, start getting a stomach ache when we announced our plans of going to Ayodhya? We are not going there for political purposes," it said.
While slamming the BJP, the Sena said those in power should be proud of Shiv Sainiks who had 'destroyed Babur's raj in Ram Janmabhoomi'.
The Babri Masjid was built in Ayodhya on the orders of Mughal emperor Babur.
It claimed the party had not given the slogan 'Chalo Ayodhya', but Shiv Sainiks were going there for Lord Ram's darshan and also because Ayodhya is 'nobody's private place'.
"There is no Ram raj there now, but the raj of the Supreme Court. However, in 1992, Balasaheb's Shiv Sainiks had destroyed Babur's raj in Ram Janmabhoomi. Instead of being scared and jealous of such Sainiks, those in power should be proud of them," the Sena editorial claimed.
It said that instead of casting aspersions on the motive of Sainiks going to Ayodhya, the government should declare a date for the construction of the temple and put all suspicions to rest.
Vishwa Hindu Parishad's 'dharam sabha' (religious conclave) on the Ram temple issue is also slated to be held here on Sunday, which, the outfit claims, is likely to be attended by about one lakh people.