Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on Friday said he was sure that a Ram temple would be built at the Ram Janmasthan (Ram's birthplace).
- Ramchandradas Paramhans is dead
- He lived for the Ram temple
- Paramhans to be taken in samadhi pose
- Interview: 'Has Allah told them to fight?'
- Column: Ayodhya - Let the courts prevail
Addressing hundreds of mourners, who had gathered in Ayodhya to attend the funeral of Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas president Mahant Ramchandra Das Paramhans, Vajpayee said, "We will fulfil his (the Mahant's) last wish. We are confident that all obstacles will be removed and the path paved for it.
"Good sense will prevail even on those who are opposing it... We feel confident in front of his funeral pyre."
Vajpayee said everyone would have to try and make true the 'last' wish of the Mahant.
The prime minister said the Mahant struggled till his last breath for the construction of the temple, but he was deeply aware of the difficulties.
"When I was going abroad recently, I sought his blessings. He sent his blessings and said the struggle for the Ram temple would continue," Vajpayee said.
He said the Mahant wanted to see India become a happy, prosperous and great nation. "Nobody can deny his devotion, dedication and struggle."
Addressing the crowd, Advani said, "The best option would be if people of all sections and communities respect this national aspiration that only a Ram temple and nothing else should be built at the Ram Janmasthan."
Describing the Mahant's death as a 'sacrifice', Advani said construction of the temple would be the only tribute to his memory.
He recalled that the Bharatiya Janata Party joined the Ram temple agitation 'after it became a people's movement', whereas the Mahant was involved in it ever since the idol of Ram Lalla appeared in 1949.
Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh joint general secretary Madan Das Devi, Vishwa Hindu Parishad chief Ashok Singhal, the new president of the Ram Janmabhooomi Nyas Mahant Nritya Gopal Das, Minister of State for Home Swami Chinmayananda and head of the high-power panel of the Ram Temple Agitation Committee Yugpurush Parmanand also addressed the gathering.
RSS chief K S Sudershan, BJP president M Venkaiah Naidu, and Union ministers Rajnath Singh and Murli Manohar Joshi were also present at Tulsighat on the banks of Saryu River, where the cremation took place.
Sudarshan asked people to prepare for the 2004 general election.
"In a democracy, it is the people's will that remains supreme. It is extremely important for all Hindus to build such an environment before the next elections that no one has the courage to raise a voice against the temple," he said.
Quoting a stanza from Ramacharit Manas, the RSS chief said, "Those who do not have respect for Ram and Sita should be abandoned, even if they are your dearest ones."
The head of the VHP's Margdarshak Mandal, Acharya Dharmendra, asked Hindus to unite and elect those who swore to build the temple and 'liberate' Kashi and Mathura.
All the speakers concentrated on the Mahant's role in the temple movement. No one spoke about his life as the spiritual head of the Digambar Akhara.
Vajpayee, Advani and other leaders placed wreaths on the funeral pyre before it was lit by the Mahant's disciple Vaishno Das at 1500 IST amidst chanting of hymns.
Thousands of people shouted slogans like 'Baba tera swapan adhura, use karenga hum pura' (Baba we will fulfil your dream) and 'Jai Sri Ram' as the sandalwood pyre on a specially erected dias was lit.
Press Trust of India