Ram Mandir bhumi pujan: Sharad Pawar has seconded Uddhav Thackeray's e-bhumi pujan suggestion, but said the Maharashtra CM is free to visit Ayodhya for ceremony.
NCP chief Sharad Pawar has seconded Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s stance on Ram Mandir bhumi pujan in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak. Pawar said this is not the right time for large crowds to gather in Ayodhya for the August 5 ceremony.
Speaking to News18, Pawar suggested that the bhumi pujan ceremony can be done by a very select few people. He said a large gathering in the temple town for the historic event may further lead to the virus spreading.
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Pawar said that he was not against the bhumi pujan ceremony and said that he was at pains to see that not attending the event is projected as opposition to the construction of the Ram temple.
“A question was asked to me about whether I am going to attend, so I said, ‘I’m sorry, I’m not going to attend’. I am not against the ceremony but my top priority is coronavirus and that’s why I’m concentrating here… I’m not going anywhere,” he told ews 18.
“The Supreme Court has already given a clear cut decision. I categorically say that we are not against the temple. Let very few people go and they can perform the puja while the others should concentrate on coronavirus,” the NCP supremo added.
To a question whether the NCP will support if Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray visits Ayodhya for the ceremony, he said, “If he wants to go, he can. He has got the right as a citizen, as an individual.”
On CM Uddhav Thackeray’s suggestion of doing bhumi pujan via video link, Pawar said, “The CM was not very happy with the idea of a big assembly of people as coronavirus can spread in a large gathering, so that’s why he made that suggestion.”
Uddhav Thackeray had on Sunday said that the Ram Mandir bhumi pujan can be conducted through video-conference.
“An e-bhoomi pujan can be done. The ground-breaking ceremony can be held through video-conference. This is an event of joy, and lakhs of people would be interested in attending the ceremony. Will we allow the spread of coronavirus?” Thackeray said in an interview published in the Shiv Sena mouthpiece ‘Saamana’.
The bhumi pujan is slated to take place on August 5. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Ayodhya to lay the foundation stone that will mark the beginning of the construction of a grand temple. The Shiv Sena has said that Uddhav Thackeray will surely visit Ayodhya to attend the event.
The Ram Mandir bhumi pujan ceremony will be telecast live on national broadcaster Doordarshan.