New Delhi: Making a strong pitch for the construction of Ram Mandir — an issue pending with the Apex Court — Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray demanded a special law to facilitate its construction, ahead of the Maharashtra Assembly Elections scheduled on October 21.

“Courts have a holiday on the day when Lord Ram killed Ravan (on Dussehra). Courts are also closed the day when Ram returned to Ayodhya (on Diwali) after killing Ravan. The only issue of contention now is whether Ram was born in Ayodhya,” he said in his 35-minute-long speech at a Dussehra rally, as quoted by News18.

He said Prime Minister Narendra Modi had advised not to speak on the Ram temple issue as the the matter is pending before the Supreme Court. “The Supreme Court verdict is expected this month, but our demand remains that a special law be enacted for construction of a Ram mandir in Ayodhya,” he said.

“We are committed to the construction of the temple. When we got our bow and arrow symbol, the issue of Ram mandir wasn’t there,” he said.

In an interview to Sena mouthpiece Saamana, the Sena chief said that he never thought of betraying the government or bringing it down despite being a part of the state government without too much power. However, he said that for the alliance to stay intact, both parties needed to exercise caution as this has happened earlier, referring to the two parties breaking their ties ahead of the state elections five years.

The elections for the 288-seat Maharashtra Assembly will be held in a single phase on October 21. Votes counting and result announcement will take place three days later.