Uddhav Thackeray unlikely to be invited to Ayodhya
Other CMs, barring Uttar Pradesh's Yogi Adityanath, might also not be invited to the bhoomi pujan of the Ram mandir because the temple trust wants to avoid a large gathering
With just five days to go, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray is most unlikely to be invited to the bhoomi pujan of the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya, slated to be held on August 5, because barring the CM of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath, the temple trust doesn't want any other CM in attendance, to prevent a large gathering amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, since prominent leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Vishwa Hindu Parishad and several Hindu organisations, heads of various sects and peeth (religious seats), who were instrumental in the Ram mandir agitation, are being invited, the Shiv Sena, which claimed credit for demolishing the disputed structure in Ayodhya and subsequently faced criminal charges, is expected to feel insulted and have a reason to attack the BJP. A Sena MLA had requested the temple trust to honour public sentiment by inviting the Maharashtra CM for the ceremony.
But some people felt that the Shiv Sena might also feel relieved because the invitation-for-the-CM issue had divided the Maha Vikas Aghadi government. The Nationalist Congress Party boss, Sharad Pawar, had said that the mandir construction would not cure the people of novel Coronavirus and some of his party colleagues suggested that the CM, who headed a secular government, shouldn't participate in a religious ceremony. The Sena leaders had said that Thackeray did not need an invitation to go to Ayodhya.
Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bajrang Dal workers after collecting sacred water and clay from the River Ganga, for the bhoomi pujan at the site of the Ram temple in Ayodhya, at Vindhyachal Dham in Mirzapur. Pic/ PTI
Keeping his options open, the CM had said in an interview that he might go to Ayodhya, but also suggested that the bhoomi pujan should be held through a video-conferencing because of the pandemic. Thackeray was criticised for the suggestion by VHP and other organisations.
A person close to the temple trust in Ayodhya told mid-day that the trustees have been trying to curtail the list of invitees from 200 to 150 because of the pandemic, and many locals, including some Ram temple staff, have been affected by the virus. "We are told that inviting all CMs or choosing the invitees among the CMs was a difficult task for political, health and security reasons. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be there, and the pioneer of the Ram mandir agitation Lal Krishna Advani and his associate Murali Manohar Joshi have also been invited. The VHP leaders, saints, heads of religious seats and sects have also been invited," said one of the organisers.
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