An Uttar Pradesh cabinet minister waded into controversy after he said the BJP was committed to building a Ram temple in Ayodhya claiming that the "Supreme Court is ours".
However, after his statement received criticism, UP Cooperative minister Mukut Bihari Verma sought to wriggle out of the controversy on Monday claiming what he really meant was that the Apex court belonged to the people of the country.
In a video clipping, which went viral on the internet, Verma, while speaking to reporters in Bahraich on Saturday had said, "BJP came to power on the issue of development, but (Ram) temple is a matter of faith for us. The temple will be built. We are committed to building the (Ram) temple".
When it was pointed out that the matter was pending in the Supreme Court, Verma, who is an MLA from Kaiserganj, said, "Supreme Court mein hai tabhi to... Supreme Court bhi hamara hi hai na. Supreme Court bhi hamara hi hai, nyay palika bhi, woh karya palika bhi hamari hai, vidhan palika bhi hamaari hai (Supreme Court is also ours. After all the Supreme Court is ours, judiciary, executive are ours and the legislature is also ours)".
Speaking to PTI on Monday, Verma, however, sought to clarify his comments.
"By the word - ours - I meant the 125 crore people of the country. It was not a reference to the BJP or me," he said.
The minister said he never said 'mera' (my) or 'meri sarkar' (my government).
The 'ours' means all of us, he added.
"I was asked how will the Ram temple be built in Ayodhya, since the matter is pending in the Supreme Court. I said the entire country is ours. The temple is ours, the judiciary is ours, the legislature is ours, the executive is ours. All these belong to the people," Verma told PTI.
He said the verdict in the matter will come according to what the law says.
Significantly, Verma's comments come just weeks after UP Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya said he was hopeful that "if the need arose" and there was no way out, the Centre could opt for the legislative route in Parliament for the construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya.