President Ram Nath Kovind on Friday (January 15) contributed ₹5 lakh and one hundred to the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust’s nationwide donation drive for the construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh.
Govind Dev Giriji Maharaj, co-president of the trust, along with VHP’s working president Alok Kumar, temple construction committee’s chief Nripendra Mishra, and RSS leader Kulbhushan Ahuja met Kovind on Friday.
“He is the first citizen of the country so we went to him to initiate this drive. He donated a sum of ₹5,00,100,” Kumar told ANI.
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has also donated ₹1 lakh. “One brick from my family shall also be placed in the construction Lord Ram’s Temple. This is not a Ram Temple really, it is a national temple,” Chouhan tweeted in Hindi.
The temple trust began raising funds for the construction of the Ram temple on Friday. The donation drive will continue till February 27.
VHP is also taking part in the fund collection drive. Coupons will be given for ₹10, ₹100 and ₹1,000 donations while receipts will be given for donations of more than ₹2,000.
The decision to launch fund collection for the temple was taken at a two-day central margdarshak mandal assembly convened by the VHP.
VHP has also sought the help of other Sangh affiliates and related Hindu organisations to reach out to 11 crore families to seek donations. According to sources, the fund collection will be “a people-centric activity.”
As per sources, various kits, prepared with detailed plans of developing the Ram temple, along with its surroundings, have been given to the members who will be part of the donation drive. These kits will be given to those making donations.
The Supreme Court ruled, in November 2019, that the disputed site, where the Babri Masjid was demolished by VHP and other right wing groups in 1992, be handed over to a trust to build a Ram temple and that a “prominent site” in Ayodhya be allotted for a new mosque, in place of the Babri Masjid. The Court ordered the Centre to set up a Trust to manage and oversee the construction of the temple.
In August 2020, Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone for the construction of the temple at the site.