A day ahead of the bhoomi pujan at the temple site in Ayodhya, Alok Kumar, the central working president of the VHP, defended the participation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the event, adding that the Congress itself attends Dussehra functions while all parties in the country hold iftar.
“Every year on Dussehra day, Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, the PM and President go to the Red Fort Ramlila and participate in Ravan dahan. All these people give iftar parties, and attend events to mark Buddha Purnima and Mahavir Jayanti. This is a country that celebrates all religions, not negates them,” he said.
Kumar said every party has “come to understand ki woh Hindu ki bhaavna ka apman karke chunaav nahin jeet sakte (that they can’t win elections while insulting Hindu sentiments)”. He credited both the Modi government and the mandir agitation in which the VHP played a part for this. “It has brought about a situation when nobody tries to keep distance from Hinduism, particularly at the time of elections.”
Saying he was proud of being at the helm of the VHP at a moment like this, Kumar said they hoped to nurture it into a drive for Hindu renaissance, including all castes and classes. To ensure Dalits were not ignored in the temple construction, he said the VHP went to major Valmiki temples among others to collect soil for the bhoomi pujan. “This is not adding one more temple, we are working towards social renaissance. We expect Hindu society to visit its Ahilyas, Shabris (characters belonging to lower castes in the epic Ramayana) again and that caste differences vanish.”