New Delhi: After having claimed the status of a ‘janeudhari’ Hindu and proclaimed himself as ‘Shiv bhakt’ and ‘Ram bhakt’ during the recently concluded state Assembly elections in five states, Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Friday announced that he was not interested in Ram temple in Ayodhya.

Calling the matter “sub judice”, Gandhi said the temple issue would not be the narrative for 2019 general elections. Rather, Gandhi hinted that the Congress would continue to attack the Modi government over the Rafale deal.

Meanwhile, Union minister Smriti Irani, who was in Amethi on Friday accused Gandhi of scuttling the Ram temple case in the Supreme Court indirectly through its lawyers while masquerading as a ‘janeudhari’ Hindu for electoral purposes.

"Congress should not do politics through its lawyers on Ram temple issue, which is a matter of faith of people. It's leaders, as lawyers are creating hurdles in the court. People and Ram bhakts should ask the party whether its leader wore 'janeu' only for polls of three states," Irani said.

Senior Congress leader and lawyer Kapil Sibal had asked the Supreme Court to defer the temple matter to after the 2019 general elections.

The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) also attacked Gandhi for his 'double-speak'. “Ram temple is the centre of faith of crores of Hindus and it is extremely painful to see how Gandhi is playing politics over that. The Congress has always politicked on the issue. Even his father Rajiv Gandhi started campaign from Ayodhya and also mentioned the Ram temple in his last press conference. But, their lawyers are scuttling the matter in Supreme Court. So they are the ones who are playing politics over our faith. Gandhi is only exposing his double standards and dubious character again and again,” VHP’s joint general secretary Surendra Jain told MyNation.

BJP spokesperson Zafar Islam also lambasted Gandhi for his 'dual character'. “It is clear that his temple run was only a vote bank ploy. He feels nothing for Ram temple apart from his politics of convenience. Since the state polls are over, his ‘janeudhari’ status no more serves him, as in the coming 2019 elections he will now cater to his politics of minority appeasement,” he said.