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Karnataka: Congress minister attacks Ram Mandir in Ayodhya, asks if its construction had eradicated poverty

"The construction of Ram Mandir will not eradicate poverty. It was constructed for their (BJP) political gains." Karnataka Labour Minister Santosh Lad said.

Karnataka Labour Minister Santosh Lad on Monday stirred a controversy when he asked whether the construction of the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya would eradicate poverty.

Lad said the construction of the temple was driven by political motives. “The construction of Ram Mandir will not eradicate poverty. It was constructed for their (BJP) political gains,” he said.

Lad said the chosen location of the temple deviated from the Supreme Court’s suggested site.

“We are not opposing Ram Mandir construction. The place where it has been constructed is not correct. It was not constructed where the Supreme Court suggested. They have constructed only 40 per cent of it,” he said.

He challenged the government’s narrative, asking whether the construction of the Ram Mandir had led to the eradication of poverty or brought any benefits to the farmers. Lad pointed to the ongoing farmer protests, questioning the government’s commitment to addressing their concerns

“What did you benefit from it, what did our sisters benefit from it? Why is the BJP asking for votes on the basis of a mandir? Have the farmers benefited? If they would have benefited, why are farmers protesting? Why are bulldozers and tear gas being used against the farmers?” he asked.

Reacting to the statements made by the Congress leader over the site of the construction of Ram Mandir, former Karnataka Chief Minister Basvaraj Bommai said, “The place where the Ram Mandir is built, is the site where Ram Lalla (sanctum sanctorum) was there 500 years ago. Santosh Lad was not born 500 years ago to ascertain all this. There are lot of things in the state for him to do, he should concentrate on that,” he said.

Condemning the statement made by Santosh Lad, former Deputy Chief Minister of Karnataka, C.N Ashwathnarayan said, “Santosh Lad must know the history of Ram Mandir, people waited for the temple to be built and people are happy. Instead of speaking politics, Santosh Lad must speak reality. I strongly condemn his statement.”

Meanwhile, Karnataka Congress MLA Rizwan Arshad backed the statements made by Santosh Lad and said, “What is wrong in speaking truth? BJP is using the narrative of Ram Mandir and other emotional things for many reasons. It is a hard truth that they utilize only emotional issues because they don’t have developmental things for any election.”

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