PM Narendra Modi
PM Narendra Modi
ANI Photo

Pune: A member of the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teertha Kshetra trust on Wednesday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi will attend the ground-breaking ceremony of the Ram temple in Ayodhya on August 5.

Talking to reporters here, Swami Govind Devgiri Maharaj also said all chief ministers must be invited for the ceremony.

"The PM has agreed to come to Ayodhya on August 5 for the 'bhoomi pujan' of Ram temple. He will be there for one- and-a-half hours. There were speculations that he would attend the ceremony virtually, but I insisted that it should be done in person," Swami Govind Devgiri Maharaj, also known as Kishorji Vyas, said.

There has been no official confirmation from the PMO so far that Modi would be attending the ceremony.

Asked if Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray will be invited to the ground-breaking ceremony, the seer said, "He must be invited."

"There is no question of not inviting CM Thackeray. He must be invited...I think there is no point in not inviting anybody. We must invite all the CMs, notable saints and social leaders," he added.

In view of the coronavirus pandemic, there will be only 200 people at the August 5 ceremony at Ayodhya, he said.

All social distancing norms will be followed at the event, he added.

He termed Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray as a "great hero" who had emphasised building a grand Ram temple in Ayodhya.

Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut had on Tuesday said that Uddhav Thackeray will definitely go for the ground-breaking ceremony. Asked whether Thackeray has received an invitation for the ceremony, Raut had said, "It will come." Asked about NCP chief Sharad Pawar's recent statement that some people think building a temple will help eradicate the COVID-19 pandemic, Swami Devgiri Maharaj said, "People love Modiji so much that they always like to talk about him." "They always try to find a chance to talk about him- for or against. If someone talks in support, it does not become news, but if someone speaks against, it does and there are people who always like to be in news therefore they speak," he said.

He said that the temple ground-breaking ceremony will be a "great moment" in history as it was awaited for the last five centuries.

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Free Press Journal