New Delhi: In the first interview after the December Assembly elections defeat in three states, Union minister for textiles Smriti Irani told MyNation the BJP doesn’t need to choose between development and Hindutva in the upcoming elections.

“This is comparing apples with oranges. Which is more important to you: Your belief in god and religion, or your belief in the Constitution? Why can’t both run parallel?”

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On whether the BJP was serious about solving the Ram Mandir issue or is it just a political jumla before every election, she said, “Congress has politically defined jumla in this country. You will remember the ‘Garibi hatao’ slogan and how the poor were treated.”

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She said, “Matters of religion or faith are equally important as building roads or bringing electricity. But the [Ram Mandir] matter is sub judice, and as a member of the cabinet, can I say something which contradicts the stand of the government?”

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There is growing pressure on the government from Hindu groups to bring an ordinance to pave the way for the construction of the Ram temple in Ayodhya on the disputed Babri Masjid site. Bur Smriti did not wish to comment on it.

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“I am not the PM. I don’t head the government. I can’t decide on part of the collective.”

Click on this link for the full interview

When reminded how the crowd at a recent Lucknow rally demanded Ram Mandir when home minister Rajnath Singh got up to speak, Irani, who was present at the same rally, said, “And what was Rajnath-ji reply?”

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Singh had asked the people to “wait for some time”.

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