Somnath Temple and Vaishnodevi shrine being put forth as models
The Somnath Temple which was reconstructed in 1951 not only became the starting point of senior BJP leader L.K. Advani’s Ram Rath Yatra in September 1990 — an event central to the scaling up of the Ram Janmabhoomi movement — but is also gaining traction as the desired model for the setting up of a Ram Janmabhoomi Temple Board that would oversee the construction of a Ram Temple in Ayodhya.
The Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) welcoming the Supreme Court’s verdict on Ayodhya said that decisions regarding setting up of the board and the choice of members therein lay with the Centre as per the apex court’s judgement.
However, privately, the temple boards of Somnath and the Mata Vaishnodevi shrines are being touted as models for the Ram Janmabhoomi temple board.
A senior VHP leader said that the government should follow the public subscription model that was followed for the construction of the Somnath Temple.
“When Sardar Patel and K.M. Munshi approached Mahatma Gandhi in 1947 to gain his support for the jeernoddhar (reconstruction), of the Somnath Temple, they got his support, but with a caveat, which was that it would be wholly financed via public subscription with no government funds being deployed. We feel that is what should be followed,” said the VHP leader.
The public subscription model was also followed for the construction of the Vivekananda Rock Memorial, said senior RSS office bearers.
“Although the funds disbursed by the government are [essentially] taxes collected from the public, the public subscription method would make this a truly participative enterprise,” said an office bearer of the RSS.
The SC in its verdict has asked the Centre to set up a board that would oversee the construction of a Ram Temple in Ayodhya.
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