While Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teertha Kshetra Trust didn’t hesitate to announce its invitation to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the ‘bhoomi pujan‘ at Ayodhya to start temple construction, the organisation’s move to make no reference to a couple of names has taken many from the Ram Temple movement by surprise. It was BJP patriarch L K Advani who had undertaken the Rath Yatra to bring the issue to political centrestage, while former UP Chief Minister Kalyan Singh had lent his weight to the agitation. Both, incidentally, are facing trial in the alleged conspiracy for Babri demolition. While Singh recently deposed before the court in Lucknow, Advani is slated to depose soon. The two leaders were synonymous with the Ram Temple movement, but no public invitation to them has raised eyebrows among the cadres who fuelled the movement.
How to seat members of both Houses in the Monsoon Session while maintaining physical distancing norms is turning out to be tricky. Rajya Sabha Chairperson M Venkaiah Naidu and Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla met on Monday with a new option —- of using both Houses for members of each House. The Upper House and its galleries can accommodate 127 MPs, and the Lower House with its galleries can seat around 290, taking distance norms into account. Members of each House beyond these capacities will sit in the other House, it is proposed. The two leaders have asked their respective secretariats to look into logistical and technical challenges — if this option is taken up. Naidu and Birla also inspected chambers and galleries of the two Houses before the two-hour discussion.
Competitive display of religiosity between the BJP and the Congress is no more news. But it did surprise some Congress leaders when they learnt that Youth Congress activists had, on Sunday, distributed Ganga-jal in Delhi on the occasion of Savan Shivratri. Some leaders wondered whether such activities are necessary now, given the pandemic situation in the Capital. Many leaders, however, saw nothing wrong in it and argued that religion is no party’s monopoly. The Youth Congress said its president, Srinivas B V, arranged Ganga-jal from Uttarakhand to be distributed to devotees and to be offered to Lord Shiva at various temples in Delhi because it is an important ritual according to Hindu scriptures.
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