Raebareli (UP), Jun 11: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said Tuesday that had his sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra contested the Lok Sabha polls from Varanasi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi would have lost by two or three lakh votes.

Addressing a thanksgiving meeting here, he said the INDIA coalition parties fought the election unitedly in Raebareli, Amethi and other parts of the country to reduce the strength of the BJP-led NDA in Parliament.

Gandhi said he and other party parliamentarians would not "fall victim to arrogance" over the poll outcome and work for the cause of the masses.

The Congress leader accused Modi of ignoring the common people and giving prominence to top industrialists and other personalities during the consecration ceremony at the Ram temple, and said the masses taught them a lesson by ensuring the BJP's defeat in Ayodhya.

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Ayodhya (UP) (PTI): Chairman of Ram Temple Construction Committee Nripendra Mishra said on Monday that the first floor of the Ram temple at Ayodhya will be completed by July this year, and expressed the hope that the construction of the temple will be completed by December.

He said marble from Rajasthan will be used in making the 'Ram Darbar' and the seven temples. Four sculptors have been shortlisted for this work, he added.

Speaking to reporters in Ayodhya, Mishra said, "The first floor of the temple, which is under construction, will be completed by the end of July. After July, the construction of the second floor will only remain. So, we are hopeful that by December, the construction of the temple will be complete," Mishra said.

On the recent controversy in a section of the media about 'teeka' not being applied on the foreheads of the devotees visiting the Ram temple, Mishra said, it was not applied to the devotees who used to come earlier. They used to have a 'darshan' of the Lord and then go out.

"Teeka was applied to some special people who used to come from another 'dwar' (gate). So, it is completely misleading to say that the Lord's 'teeka' and 'charnamrit' are not being given.

"No new embargo has been put. Everybody is being given equal treatment, be it an ordinary devotee or a special (person)," Mishra said.

The idol of Ram Lalla was consecrated at the Ayodhya temple on January 22, a landmark event led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi who also gave a clarion call to go beyond the grand temple's construction to build the foundation of a "strong, capable and divine" India of the next 1,000 years.

As the inauguration of the temple marked the culmination of a decades-long campaign, mostly under the Hindutva banner, to reclaim a disputed religious site in Ayodhya, Modi said it was the advent of a new era.

Lakhs of people watched the 'pran pratishtha' (consecration) ceremony on television at their homes and in neighbourhood temples, savouring the historic moment just months ahead of the Lok Sabha elections and 34 years after BJP veteran L K Advani's iconic 'Mandir Wahin Banayenge ' speech during his rath yatra that shaped Ram mandir politics.

Mishra said more than 1.75 crore devotees have visited the temple from January 22 till June 23.

On average, one lakh devotees visit the temple daily. By the end of this month, we expect that 2 crore devotees would have visited the temple, he said.