Raut says Uddhav will attend Ram temple event; NCP leader objects

Sanjay Raut says invitation to ceremony yet to come; Memon claims that the CM has been invited

Chief Minister Thackeray will definitely go for the ''bhoomi pujan'' ceremony, Sanjay Raut said. Photo: PTI (File)

The foundation stone-laying ceremony of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya, scheduled to be held on August 05, has once again lead to a difference of opinion between the Shiv Sena and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) in Maharashtra.

While Sena leader Sanjay Raut on Tuesday (July 21) said its president and Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray would attend the ceremony, NCP leader Majeed Memon advised him to refrain from “promoting a particular religious activity”.

However, Raut said the invitation to the ceremony was yet to come, while Memon claimed that Thackeray had already been invited. “Chief Minister Thackeray will definitely go for the ”bhoomi pujan” ceremony, because the Shiv Sena shares sentimental, religious and national ties with this issue,” Raut told a TV channel.

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“As I had said yesterday (July 20), the Shiv Sena had made a big contribution, and (Shiv Sainiks) shed their blood and made sacrifices for the cause of Ram temple construction,” he said, reiterating that Thackeray kept visiting Ayodhya and had done so before and after becoming the Chief Minister of Maharashtra.

Raut added The ceremony is historic from the point of view of the country, Hindutva, for the thousands of martyrs, adding that lakhs of Lord Ram devotees would have turned up for the ceremony had there been no COVID-19 crisis prevailing.

Meanwhile, Memon tweeted, “Uddhav Thackrey is among invitees for bhoomi pujan of Ram Temple. He may participate, respecting COVID-19 restrictions in his personal capacity. The head of a secular democracy should refrain from promoting a particular religious activity.” He also clarified that these were his personal views and not the NCP’s.

The Thackeray-led Shiv Sena and NCP, along with the Congress, are part of the ruling coalition in Maharashtra. The Sena has always explicitly supported the construction of Ram Temple in Ayodhya. The apex court in November last year allowed the construction of Ram Temple through a trust at the disputed site in Ayodhya.

(With inputs from agencies)

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