Show of political clout at Ramlilahttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/show-of-political-clout-at-ramlila/

Show of political clout at Ramlila

Religious committees want to invite as many VIPs as possible.

Ravan heads displayed under the Tagore Garden Metro station on Monday. ( Source: Express photo by Renuka Puri )
Ravan heads displayed under the Tagore Garden Metro station on Monday. ( Source: Express photo by Renuka Puri )

After making his first speech from the ramparts of Red Fort on Independence Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to take part in Dusshera festivities at the Red Fort’s Luv Kush Ramlila.

By being part of Dussehra celebrations, Modi is believed to be promoting the celebrations of festivals that symbolise victory of good over evil.

However, religious events seem to be turning into a way to make a statement of political clout, as every Ramlila is now focusing its energies on inviting as many senior politicians as possible.

On October 3, former prime minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi are expected to be present at the Ramlila organised by Shri Ramlila Committee, whereas Prime Minister Modi is expected to be part of Luv Kush committee’s Ramlila at Red Fort. The Luv Kush Ramlila committee members are believed to be close to the BJP.

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“We have invited the PM for Dusshera celebration on October 3. Though we have not received any confirmation, which could be due to security reasons, we believe that Modi will attend the event for which we have made extensive arrangements. Soon after the arrow hits 110 feet effigy of Ravan, there will be a loud roar. The tears will be white and the sword will revolve. We will be delighted if the PM does the honour of killing Ravan symbolically,” secretary of Luv Kush Ramlila committee Arjun Kumar said.

Just a few kilometres away from the Red fort, another Ramlila has invited Congress president Sonia Gandhi and former PM Manmohan Singh.

Shri Ramlila Committee, which boasts of members such as former MP Jai Prakash Agrawal, has been hosting the former PM and Sonia Gandhi for Ramlila family for a decade. Asked if the committee had invited PM Modi this year, Agrawal replied in negative.

“It is a religious ceremony and should not be politicised. Former PM Manmohan Singh has always come to our Ramlila along with Sonia Gandhi. We are sure Manmohan Singh will come this time too. The Gandhi family has been a regular at this Ramlila,” Agrawal said.

Agrawal pointed out several former prime ministers, including PV Narasimha Rao, H D Deve Gowda and I K Gujral, remained away from Ramlila celebrations during their tenure.