Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday reiterated his party's demand for a parliamentary legislation to facilitate the construction of the Ram temple at a Dussehra function in Mumbai.
"The case for building a Ram temple at Ayodhya has gone on for years, and our party sticks to its demand for a special law to facilitate it. In the same way that Ram left his home to keep a promise, we cannot break our promise to build a temple for him," he said days before Maharashtra goes to the assembly elections on October 21. He, however, said for his party the Ram temple issue is above politics and not related to the upcoming assembly polls in Maharashtra.
Thackeray also justified his decision to ally with the BJP for the assembly polls, an arrangement under which the Shiv Sena had to settle as a junior partner.
Addressing the Sena's annual Dussehra rally at Shivaji Park in central Mumbai, Thackeray said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has advised nobody should speak about Ram Mandir since the matter is being heard in the Supreme Court.
"But, the case is pending for the last 35 years. Courts are closed on the day when Ram killed Ravan. The day Ram returned to Ayodhya too, that day also courts are closed.
But, the issue is whether Ram was born in Ayodhya.
"It is said this month, the court verdict will be out. Otherwise, we stand by our demand that a special law should be enacted to construct Ram Mandir in Ayodhya...'Praan jaaye par vachan na jaaye' has been Shiv Sena's philosophy" he said.
The Shiv Sena is not demanding temple for politics. "We are committed to it. When we got our bow and arrow symbol, there was no issue of Ram temple," he said.
Justifying the alliance with the BJP, he said scrapping of Article 370, which accorded special status to Jammu and Kashmir, was a demand the Shiv Sena had been making for several years.
"If not the BJP, then should I have gone with the Congress who opposed nullification of Article 370 and sedition laws," he asked in his 35-minute speech.
"Now, the next agenda should be to bring Uniform Civil Code," the Sena chief said.
"Alliance with the BJP has been forged for the welfare of the state. We have had to do some compromises. I apologise to Shiv Sainiks whose seats have gone to alliance partners," he said.