MUMBAI: Pointing to differences between the Shiv Sena and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) over the ground-breaking ceremony of the temple for Lord Ram at Ayodhya, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) questioned if power had forced the Sena to give short shrift to its commitment on the issue.
“On one hand, leaders of the NCP raise questions on the bhoomi pujan of the Ram Temple, while the Shiv Sena, which is in power with it, waits for an invite for the ceremony. Why was the Shiv Sena silent when its own ally was questioning the bhoomipoojan? Why didn’t they have the guts to say that this statement of the NCP has hurt the sentiments of lakhs and crores of Ram bhakts? Has the greed for power made them forget the bhakti of Lord Ram? The issue of Lord Ram’s temple is that of faith, no one should politicise it,” said BJP legislator Ram Kadam.
On Sunday, NCP chief and former union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar had questioned the Narendra Modi-led government’s priorities during the Corona pandemic and the economic disruption caused by the lockdown. Pawar had questioned if building a Ram temple would drive Corona away.
Raut credited late Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray as an architect of the Ram temple movement. “This is a historic moment for us that the bhoomipoojan is happening at the hands of the Prime Minister,” said Raut, adding that this was not an issue of politics, but one of faith. “Be it Pawar saheb, or Uddhav Thackeray saheb, they are leaders of large political parties, and keep their positions forward in their style,” he explained, adding that there were no differences of opinion on the issue.
In a tweet, former NCP MP Majeed Memon said Uddhav may participate in the ceremony respecting Covid-19 restrictions and in his personal capacity. “The head of a secular democracy should refrain from promoting a particular religious activity,” said Memon, adding that however, his tweets were his personal views. The Shiv Sena used the Ram Temple agitation to signify its shift to rabid Hindutva politics since the late 1980s. Uddhav has visited Ayodhya thrice in the recent past.