It emerged on Saturday that veteran BJP leaders LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi, key architects of the Ram temple movement, might not be invited to the foundation laying ceremony in Ayodhya on August 5. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to participate in the event.
However, sources in the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra, a trust set up for the construction and management of the temple, were quick to clarify that the BJP stalwarts will “definitely be invited”, reported NDTV.
Advani, 92, and Joshi, 86, will be extended an invitation over the phone, along the lines of the communication followed for other leaders, said the news portal quoting sources in the trust. Trust general secretary Champat Rai is supervising the invitations.
The trust on Saturday sent out invitations to former Union minister Uma Bharti and Uttar Pradesh ex-CM. Both had also faced allegations of playing a role in the destruction of the Babri mosque on December 6, 1992.
A week ago, Advani had deposed before a special CBI court via videoconferencing and responded to questions tied to the attack on the mosque. Advani rejected all charges. Joshi too recorded his statement and told the court that several allegations had been labelled against him for political reasons.
Meanwhile, another face of the Ram Mandi movement and firebrand leader, Vinay Katiyar, has said that after the completion of the temple construction in Ayodhya, the mobilisation for temple-building at Kashi and Mathura would gain momentum.
On the one hand, a temple will be built in Ayodhya and on the other, the movement will start for both the places of worship which will include all Hindu organisations, said Katiyar.
In the run-up to the August 5 event, Hindu temples in North America have said that they would hold a virtual national prayer to celebrate the foundation laying ceremony in Ayodhya.
The Hindu Mandir Executives' Conference and the Hindu Mandir Priests' Conference, in a statement on Friday, called for a virtual collective national prayer across America to rejoice the upcoming "Shree Ram Mandir Poojan".