Former deputy prime minister, BJP patriarch and, above all, a key architect of the Ram temple whose 'rath yatra' gave fillip and form to the Ram Janmabhoomi movement, L K Advani won't keep his date with history on Wednesday.
The 92-year-old, who in 1990 charioted the 'Ram rath' that made him the face of Hindutva politics and was instrumental in consolidating support for the BJP, said in his autobiography that the temple is a symbol of the "struggle between genuine secularism and pseudo secularism".
The BJP leader is not among the invitees for the ground-breaking ceremony of the temple by Modi on Wednesday due to his advanced age amid concerns over the spread of COVID-19 epidemic.
However, he issued a statement ahead of the event.
Here is the full text of Advani's statement:
Sometimes significant dreams in one's life take a long time to fruition, but when they are finally realised, the wait becomes very worthwhile. One such dream, close to my heart is now getting fulfilled.
Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi is laying the foundation for the construction of Shri Ram Mandir at Ayodhya, the birthplace of Shri Ram. It is indeed a historical and emotional day not only for me, but for all Indians.
A grand Mandir for Shri Ram at Ram Janmabhoomi has been a desire and mission for the Bharatiya Janata Party.
I feel humbled that during the Ram Janmabhoomi movement, destiny made me perform a pivotal duty in the form of the Ram Rath Yatra from Somnath to Ayodhya in 1990,which helped galvanise the aspirations, energies and passions of its countless participants.
On this auspicious occasion, I want to express my gratitude to the scores of Saints, Leaders and people from India and the world over who made valuable contributions and sacrifices in the Ram Janmabhoomi Movement.
I am also very happy that due to the decisive verdict of the Supreme Court in November 2019, the construction of Shri Ram Mandir is getting started in an environment of tranquility. This will go a long way in strengthening the bond between Indians.
Shri Ram occupies an esteemed place in India's cultural and civilizational heritage and is an embodiment of grace, dignity and decorum. It is my belief that this temple will inspire all Indiansto imbibe His virtues.
It is also my belief that Shri Ram Mandir will represent India as a strong, prosperous, peaceful and harmonious nation with justice for all and exclusion of none so that we can truly usher in Ram Rajya, the epitome of good governance.
May Shri Ram bless India and her people always.
JAI SHRI RAM