The debate on the Uniform Civil Code Bill in Uttarakhand Assembly today was side-tracked by a Congress MLA’s remark on the complexion of Ram Lalla’s idol in the Ayodhya Ram Temple. The remark and the retaliation from the treasury benches led to chaotic scenes and sloganeering in the House.
Adesh Singh Chauhan, Congress MLA from Jaspur, was speaking on the legislation when he referred to the grand temple in Ayodhya. “The parliamentary work minister made several references to the temple. We welcome the construction of the temple too. But what I could not understand is that we had read in books that our Ram was ‘saanvla’ — meaning dusky — but they made him ‘kaala’ (black),” he said.
The remark sparked a huge row, with BJP ministers and legislators protesting against the Congress MLA. Prem Chand Aggarwal, finance and parliamentary work minister, hit out at Mr Chauhan, questioning how he can make this remark on Lord Ram. The Congress MLA kept arguing as BJP legislators raised Jai Shri Ram slogans.
The minister, seated next to Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami, then accused the Congress of votebank politics. “He is making such remarks on Lord Rama. You do anything for votes but I request you not to say such things. Can the Congress only do appeasement and votebank politics?” he said.
The 51-inch idol of Ram Lalla, which was installed in the Ayodhya Ram Temple in a grand consecration ceremony last month, was carved out of black stone by Mysuru-based artist Arun Yogiraj.
The stone from which the idol has been carved is special black granite brought all the way from Karnataka. HS Venkatesh, Director of National Institute of Rock Mechanics, Bengaluru, has said the stone is 2.5 billion years old. This statue represents five-year-old Rama. The temple will have idols of Lord Ram with Sita, Lakshman and Hanuman in the first floor that is yet to be built.