Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to visit Ayodhya on August 5 for the bhoomi pujan ceremony to begin the construction of a grand Ram temple.
The Shiv Sena has demanded that the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teertha Kshetra invite Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray as the chief guest for the foundation laying ceremony of the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya next month. Sena MLA Pratap Sarnaik said that he has written a letter to chief trustee of the Sri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust and asked him to send a formal invitation to Uddhav as chief guest for the event.
“In the backdrop of (COVID-19) pandemic, the function in Ayodhya will be held in the presence of a few invitees. It is learnt that those organisations and political parties which directly or indirectly made efforts for (the temple cause) may be invited for the function,” Sarnaik, who represents Ovala-Majiwada constituency in Thane, said in the letter.
He said Shiv Sena founder late Bal Thackeray was at the forefront of the temple construction movement. He said Uddhav Thackeray had been repeatedly demanding construction of a Ram temple when no other leader had raised the issue.
“It was the Sena which had laid the foundation for the construction of the temple,” he said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to visit Ayodhya on August 5 for the bhoomi pujan ceremony to begin the construction of a grand Ram temple. The trust has formally invited PM Modi for the ceremony.
Senior Sena leader and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut claimed credit for the construction of the Ram Mandir. Raut said his party had laid the road to the Ram Mandir and removed the main roadblocks in the run up to its construction. The Rajya Sabha MP said his party did not do this for politics, but out of faith and for the cause of Hindutva.
“Uddhav Thackeray always goes to Ayodhya. He went (to Ayodhya) when he was not chief minister (of Maharashtra), he went there after becoming chief minister too. The ties of the Shiv Sena and Ayodhya are intact. It is not a political relation. We do not go to Ayodhya for politics and did not go there (for politics in the past too),” Raut said.
Ironically, Shiv Sena ally and NCP chief Sharad Pawar had taken a jibe at the Ram Mandir ceremony and suggested that such activities during the time of an unprecedented emergency in the form of the coronavirus pandemic was not appropriate. “Eradication of COVID-19 is the priority of the Maharashtra government, but some people think constructing a temple will help in its mitigation,” Pawar told reporters in Solapur, responding to a question on the proposed date for laying of the foundation stone for the Ram temple.
The comments came a day after the Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust invited Prime Minister Narendra Modi to lay the foundation stone of a Ram temple in Ayodhya.
According to the Ram Mandir trust president Nritya Gopal Das, the bhoomi pujan will be performed with the placing of a 40-kg silver brick at the sanctum sanctorum. Three-day-long Vedic rituals, beginning August 3, will precede the main ceremony. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Aadityanath will also join the bhoomi pujan ceremony.
Triloki Nath Pandey, the decree holder of the Ram Janmabhoomi mandated by the Supreme Court, said he cannot tell the exact date but has information that PM Modi could visit the temple town on August 5.