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Prime Minister Narendra Modi should be more concerned about priorities before the country rather than focusing on who represents whom in court, Congress leader Kapil Sibal today said even as he claimed that he never represented the Sunni Waqf Board in the Ayodhya case.
In a retort to Modi, the former union minister asked him to check facts before saying something in public.
"I learnt that the prime minister and Amit Shah have said that I represented the Sunni Waqf Board in the Supreme Court, but I was never representing the Sunni Waqf Board in the Ayodhya issue.
"It would have been better had the prime minister been more careful and checked the facts before saying so in public. What I said in court on his divisive agenda, he has proved that right in a single day," he told PTI.
The Supreme Court yesterday rejected the vehement submission of Sunni Waqf Board and others that hearing of appeals in the sensitive Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title dispute be conducted in July 2019 after the general elections and fixed February 8 to hear them.
In the Supreme Court order, Sibal's name featured as a lawyer for the UP Sunni Waqf Board.
Sibal said instead of worrying about whom he represents in court, the prime minister should be more concerned about the problems before the country and his home state of Gujarat.
He said there were serious problems arising out of demonetisation and implementation of GST besides uprising of youths against the BJP due to job losses and lack of employment, the state of education and health and those of tribals and also rising pollution.
"There are serious problems concerning the country. But look at the priorities of the prime minister.
"We want to take the country forward, but he wants to take it behind. We want to unite the society, but he wants to divide it," Sibal said.
Asked whether he wanted the temple to be built, Sibal said it is up to Lord Rama to do so and the court and not Narendra Modi.
"We have faith in God and Lord Rama and not in Modi. The Ram temple in Ayodhya will be built only when the Lord wants and the courts will decide and not Modi," he also said.
The former union minister asked whether any discussion about his going to court to represent someone will help the country in solving the serious problems before it.
He said issuing statements would not help India as it would take the nation towards more controversies.
Earlier in the day, Modi, while campaigning in poll-bound Gujarat, castigated Sibal for seeking deferment of hearing of the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title dispute till after the 2019 general elections, and wondered if such an issue should be kept unresolved for political gains and losses.
"Yesterday, Sibal advocated the cause of the Muslim community. He has the right to do it and we do not have any problem with it. You can present your argument quoting all facts and laws to save Babri Masjid.
"But you dare say that the case should not be heard till 2019 elections. You want to stop the hearing of Ram temple (issue) in the name of elections," Modi told a well attended election rally in Ahmedabad district.
Modi said now he understands why the Congress kept many issues unresolved, without elaborating but implying that it was done to derive political mileage.
"Does the Waqf Board fight elections? Are these thoughts of delaying the hearing for elections that of the Waqf Board? The elections in the country are being fought by the Congress party. You want to keep the issue unresolved for political gain and losses in the elections?" Modi asked the Congress.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)