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Kharge, Sonia decline Ram temple invite; accuse BJP of making it ‘political project’ for ‘electoral gain’

The consecration ceremony will be held on January 22 and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and more than 6,000 people are expected to attend it.

Socia Kharge PTINEW DELHI: Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge, Sonia Gandhi and Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury on Wednesday “respectfully declined” the invitation to attend the Ram Temple consecration ceremony and accused the BJP and the RSS of making it into a “political project” for electoral gain.

The decision of the top leaders was announced by Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh, who also questioned the motive behind the inauguration of the “incomplete” temple by the leaders of the BJP and the RSS.

Last month, Congress chief and Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Kharge, Congress Parliamentary Party Chairperson Gandhi and Leader of the Congress in Lok Sabha Chowdhury received the invitation to attend the inauguration ceremony of the Ram temple at Ayodhya to be held on January 22, 2024.

“Lord Ram is worshipped by millions in our country. Religion is a personal matter. But the RSS/BJP have long made a political project of the temple in Ayodhya. The inauguration of the incomplete temple by the leaders of the BJP and the RSS has been obviously brought forward for electoral gain,” Ramesh said in a statement.

“While abiding by the 2019 Supreme Court judgment and honouring the sentiments of millions who revere Lord Ram, Shri Mallikarjun Kharge, Smt.Sonia Gandhi and Shri Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury have respectfully declined the invitation to what is clearly an RSS/BJP event,” the Congress general secretary in-charge communications said.

The consecration ceremony will be held on January 22 and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and more than 6,000 people are expected to attend it.

The temple trust has also invited 4,000 seers from across the country and 50 guests from foreign countries.

The BJP and the RSS and affiliate Hindutva organisations like the Vishva Hindu Parishad have launched a nationwide mass connect programme in the run-up to the ceremony, urging people to visit the holy place after the programme.

The BJP has also asked all its state units to start a campaign from January 14 to ensure the cleanliness of temples and the surroundings and exhort people to join the January 22 event by offering prayers at temples in their respective neighbourhoods.

It asked its state units to “help” people who want to visit the Ram temple after the consecration ceremony.

On Monday, Himachal Pradesh minister and Congress leader Vikramaditya Singh said he would attend the consecration ceremony at the Ram temple in Ayodhya.

 

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