VHP Warns Opposition: Will Lose Core Hindu Support if Skip Ram Temple Inauguration
NEW DELHI, Jan 10: On a day when Congress leaders decided to skip the Ayodhya Ram temple inauguration, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) flayed the Opposition parties, saying they would lose “core Hindu support” if they choose to stay away from the event.
Reacting to allegations of the Opposition parties that the VHP and Bharatiya Janata Party are using the temple ceremony for political gains, Alok Kumar, international working president of the VHP, said, “Just imagine a situation where all INDIA [Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance] leaders had participated in it. Then what happens? If they boycott, people can draw their own conclusions.”
Sharing how VHP was in a dilemma over inviting leaders of the opposition parties for the consecration ceremony, Mr Kumar said, “There was a debate among us on whether to invite [Samajwadi Party chief] Akhilesh Yadav or the Congress for Ram Temple inauguration… They have always acted against Hindu causes and building of the Ram Temple. [SP founder] Mulayam Singh was responsible for the shooting on kar sevaks. We eventually decided that the generation that did all this has gone away. Mulayam, Narasimha Rao, Rajiv Gandhi…. the temple belongs to all of us. Let us have a fresh start.”
He added that the VHP had invited “all of the Opposition” and on a public platform, anyone who attends will be given “proper respect.” “Still if they choose not to come, then it’s open for the people to assume that they are doing it for their minority vote bank. So it is by their conduct that they have deprived themselves of the core Hindu support,” he further said.
On the mass mobilisation campaigns both in India and abroad ahead of the inauguration on January 22, Mr Kumar said “50 crore Indians are being invited to visit the Ram temple.” “The VHP will be taking 1 lakh families which were associated with the temple movement to visit it for free in the next one month,” he added.
“We have divided the country into 44 segments. We will request the government to run special trains to Ayodhya for kar sewaks or those associated with the temple movement. They will only have to pay for the train fare and VHP will ensure their boarding and lodging in Ayodhya,” Mr Kumar said.
Detailing how the Pran Pratistha (consecration ceremony) of the Ram Lalla idol will not be performed just by Prime Minister Narendra Modi – which has sparked a controversy, Mr Kumar explained that 12 other people, including Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat, temple trusties, seers, would be part of it collectively.
Speaking about the guest list of the Ram temple, Mr Kumar said a list of people of 150 categories including politicians, film stars, sportsmen, businessmen, artists, and those who participated in the Ram temple movement, had been drawn up and “7,000-plus people” are invited.
“The list includes – in large numbers – the people of Schedule Caste and Schedule Tribes. Saints from Sikh, Jain and Buddhism are also invited,” he added. The VHP leader also praised actor Amitabh Bachchan for readily agreeing to lend voice to a movie being made on the temple.
On criticism by a section of religious and political leaders that an “incomplete temple” was being inaugurated, Mr Kumar said the VHP never responds to “seers and saints.” As for Opposition criticism, he said that the Garbha Griha (sanctum sanctorum) of the temple was ready.
He also cleared the air on the need for a 51-inch Ram Lalla idol in child’s form at the temple and replacing the current ones, saying smaller idols are being replaced by a bigger one so that pilgrims can see it from a distance. “The old idols are not going anywhere and will be placed at the sanctum sanctorum,” he added.