On Wednesday, party leaders and functionaries said the party has not issued any instructions on the celebrations of the Ram temple groundbreaking ceremony yet. “A decision on it will be taken soon,” Sanjay Raut, Sena MP, said.
Referring to the restrictions imposed by the state government on the various religious festivals due to the pandemic, a Sena leader said, “So, the celebrations may be low-key to avoid large gatherings of people.”
Another party functionary said Chief Minister and Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray had suggested that a virtual ‘bhoomi pujan’ of the Ram temple should be held due to the pandemic. “The party chief had also raised the question that a large gathering may lead to a further spread of the coronavirus. So, it is difficult to hold the celebrations with a large gathering,” the functionary added.
Chandrakant Khaire, a senior Sena leader and former MP from Aurangabad, meanwhile, said, “We are planning to organise some celebrations on August 5 while abiding by all the lockdown guidelines and Covid-19 preventive measures.”
While Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to visit Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh, on August 5 for the groundbreaking ceremony for the Ram temple, the state BJP leadership has announced that the day would be celebrated with much fanfare in Maharashtra while following Covid-19 measures.
The Sena has been vocal about the Ram temple with Thackeray has visited Ayodhya three times in the last two years, including his visit in March to mark the completion of 100 days in office as Chief Minister. The BJP, however, has accused that the Sena of abandoning Hindutva after it joined hands with the NCP and the Congress for forming the Maha Vikas Aghadi government. The Sena has maintained that there has been no change in the party’s stand. Even its alliance partners have also not opposed Uddhav’s visit to Ayodhya stating that it is the matter of his personal faith.
NCP chief Sharad Pawar had recently said he was not against the construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya as the Supreme Court has given the verdict on it. “But the ceremony should be held with fewer people to avoid crowding and spreading the coronavirus,” Pawar said.
Ashok Chavan, senior Congress leader and state PWD Minister, too, had referred to the SC verdict on the Ram temple. “So, the invitations should be given to political parties who want to go for ‘bhoomi pujan’. All the places of worship have been closed due to Covid-19 and it is not desirable to hold the big gathering for the event. It would be good if a virtual programme is held,” Chavan added.
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