Note: This article has been updated with later developments.
The city of Ayodhya has been decked up and massive preparations have been made for the 'Bhoomi Pujan' ceremony of the Ram Mandir. 175 eminent guests, including 135 saints, have been invited in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is all set to perform a 'pooja' at the Hanuman Garhi temple and Shree Ramlala Virajman before performing the 'Bhoomi Poojan'.
Meanwhile, some Congress leaders are seen jumping on the Ram Mandir bandwagon which has made others including Salman Khurshid, Karti Chidambaram and few younger leaders unhappy.
For the uninitiated, it was Congress leader and India's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru who said that he was disturbed after the idols 'miraculously appeared’ in 1949. “Dangerous example being set there which will have bad consequences," he said. However, years later its was his grandson - Rajiv Gandhi - who ordered to remove the locks on the then contested site.
Over the years, the Congress party have remained somewhat distant from the Ram Mandir issue. Many including Rahul Gandhi have spoken primarily against the Babri Masjid demolition. "Had the Gandhi family been in politics (at that time), the Babri Masjid demolition would not have taken place." The then Prime Minister PV Narsimha Rao was blamed for it.
On Wednesday however, Rahul Gandhi took to Twitter to comment on the foundation event, praising Lord Ram
On the other hand, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has encashed the issue. Interestingly, the Ram Mandir was in the saffron party's manifesto consistently since 1996.
Now, with Ram Mandir actually materialising, Congress leaders Priyanka Gandhi, Digvijay Singh, Kamal Nath, Manish Tewari, Shashi Tharoor, trying not to be 'left out' from the historical event, are seeing it as “a celebration of national unity, fraternity and cultural affinity”.
Priyanka Gandhi Vadra stated that Lord Ram has an impact on the culture of the Indian subcontinent and around the world. “The culture of the Indian subcontinent has a deep and indelible mark of Lord Rama, mother Sita and Ramayana. The story of the Ramayana remains illuminated in our cultural and religious memories,” she said and added that Lord Ram is with everyone.
Her husband, Robert Vadra, also said that ''Bhoomi Poojan'' should become an occasion for national unity and brotherhood.
Madhya Pradesh Congress President Kamal Nath hosted a 'Hanuman Chalisa' recital at his residence and announced sending 11 silver bricks for the construction of the temple.
"Lord Shri Ram epitomises justice for all, righteous conduct, fairness & firmness in all dealings, moral rectitude & courage. These values are much needed in such dark times. If they spread throughout the land, Ram Rajya would not be an occasion for triumphalist bigotry," wrote Shashi Tharoor.
Congress spokesperson and Lok Sabha MP Manish Tewari also congratulated the people of the country on the occasion. The Congress has welcomed the decision of the Supreme Court which paved the way for the construction of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya.
Senior party leader Jitin Prasada said, "The Congress party has already welcomed the construction of the Ram Temple. It is a matter of faith for every Hindu and also personally for me. I am happy that the Ram Mandir is being constructed."
Digvijay Singh prayed that the construction of the Ram Mandir be completed smoothly.
Meanwhile, Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi haven't issued any statements.