Politics different from devotion, says state Housing Minister Jitendra Awhad
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Ahead of the groundbreaking ceremony for Ayodhya’s Ram Mandir slated for August 5, Maharashtra Housing Minister Dr Jitendra Awhad took a swipe at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), saying that the saffron party politicised the Ram Janmabhoomi issue and made every attempt to take mileage and assume power. In the name of Ram, BJP sold water and bricks.

Dr Awhad, who is Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar’s close confidant, said doing politics in the name of Lord Ram is different and devotion is different. “For the last 40 years, BJP has been doing politics in the name of Ram. They also sold water and bricks in Ram's name,’’ he added. He further noted that they alone cannot have a claim on Lord Ram.

“I believe that Ram is hidden in those who have sincerity in their minds, have intimacy with their parents, and have the ideal of limits set by Purushottam Shri Ramchandra,” said Dr Awhad. He reiterated that devotion to Ram is different from doing politics in the name of Ram.

“If they want to do Bhumi Pujan, let them do it. We have nothing to say,” the minister said.

Dr Awhad’s move to corner BJP comes days after Pawar took a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying that some people think building a temple will eradicate COVID-19. “We always think about what should be prioritised. As of now, our priority is to help those infected with coronavirus recover. Some people think that the virus will go away after the temple is constructed. That's why they would have organised the programme. I am only getting to know about this from you people,” Pawar said.

Pawar had told the Free Press Journal that he would not go to Ayodhya, as he was busy with the effort to contain the virus.

Shiv Sena rebuts claim of Ram temple trust chairman

The Shiv Sena on Sunday strongly rebutted the charge made by the Ram Mandir Nirman Trust President Mahant Nritya Gopal Das that the party had yet to deposit Rs 1 crore for the temple construction, as had been announced by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. Shortly after Das' statement to some television channels, Sena MP Anil Desai announced that the party had already deposited Rs 1 crore in the name of the trust in State Bank of India last week, on the occasion of Thackeray’s birthday on July 27.

Desai recalled that on his March 7 visit, Thackeray had announced that Shiv Sena would contribute Rs 1 crore towards the construction of Ram Temple. "Shiv Sena has fulfilled its commitment and deposited the amount in the name of the trust on the CM’s birthday. This has been confirmed by the Trust treasurer and trustee," he noted. He informed that the treasurer had also thanked CM Thackeray for his contribution.

Further, he expressed the hope that the treasurer and trustee would inform Das about the receipt of Rs 1 crore from the Shiv Sena and thereby clear the confusion, if any.

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