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OPINION | OPPOSITION CONFUSED ON RAM TEMPLE ISSUE

Rajat Sharma Written By: Rajat Sharma @RajatSharmaLive New Delhi Published on: January 05, 2024 16:44 IST
India TV Editor-in-chief Rajat Sharma
Image Source : INDIA TV India TV Editor-in-chief Rajat Sharma

There seems to be utter confusion among anti-Modi INDIA opposition bloc leaders over the Ayodhya Ram Temple issue, with leaders of different parties taking divergent stands. Maharashtra NCP leader Jitendra Awhad had to apologize with folded hands over his remark that Lord Ram was non-vegetarian. He was saying there was no point in banning sale of meat on January 22, the day when the Ayodhya Ram temple will be consecrated. There were protests in Thane, Pune, Nashik, Nagpur and Mumbai and his effigy was burnt. Chief Minister Eknath Shinde denounced Awhad for hurting the faith of Hindus. Congress leader Husain Dalwai advised Awhad to be careful while making remarks about Lord Ram. NCP leader Eknath Khadse said, such remarks tend to create tension in society. 

NCP supremo Sharad Pawar, who had gone to pray at Shirdi Sai shrine, sent message to Awhad asking him to apologize. Awhad claimed he was a Ram Bhakt, and what he had said was based on research. However, he apologized saying if his remark has caused hurt to anybody, he seeks apology. It is good that Jitendra Awhad realized his mistake and apologized. His apology has no meaning. Sharad Pawar and Uddhav Thackeray know that Awhad’s blasphemous remark can hurt the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi in this year’s elections. Not a single leader from NCP, Congress or Shiv Sena supported him. Jitendra Awhad knows that Hindus are liberal, and in Sanatan Dharma, pardoning those who commit mistakes is considered a courageous step. The great poet Tulsidas, who wrote Ramcharit Manas, had said, “Jaaki Rahi Bhavna Jaisi, Prabhu Moorat Dekhi Tin Taisi” (One views God’s idol with the feeling that one has in mind).  Jitendra Awhad’s feelings about Lord Ram may have had the streak of devil. Hindus may pardon him for his remarks, but people can surely ask him whether he can make a similar blasphemous remark about any other religion and then save his skin by apologizing. In Bihar, RJD chief Tejashwi Yadav remarked that Modi may claim he is building a palace for Lord Ram, but Lord Ram is God incarnate, and he does not need Modi to build a palace for him. He then went on to ask people at his rally, whether they would go to a temple or a hospital, if they break their leg in an accident? He also asked people whether they would go to a temple, if they were hungry? 

Union Minister Giriraj Singh said, the political DNA of both Lalu Prasad and his son Tejashwi is anti-Hindu. Singh challenged Tejashwi whether he would ask Haj pilgrims why they were wasting time on Haj pilgrimage and convert the Haj House in Patna into a hospital? Senior Congress leader and former Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot claimed that it was Rajiv Gandhi who ordered the opening of locks of Ram Janmabhoomi and allowed ‘shilanayas’ of Ram temple in Ayodhya. He blamed BJP for misusing a religious consecration ceremony for its political agenda. Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee has already instructed her party leaders not to speak at all about the Ayodhya event.  Remarks of RJD, Congress and Trinamool leader make it quite clear that there seems to be confusion among the constituent parties of INDIA opposition bloc. They are unable to decide on taking a clear stand to counter BJP’s aggressive Hindutva line. Because of this confusion, they are committing mistakes by making controversial remarks. 

While Mamata Banerjee has clearly said she would not attend the consecration ceremony in Ayodhya, Sonia Gandhi and Mallikarjun Kharge are yet to decide whether they would attend. Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad are yet to give time to VHP leaders for getting the invitation card. Uddhav Thackeray is yet to receive the invitation. There is confusion whether Akhilesh Yadav will attend the ceremony or not. It seems leaders of anti-Modi front will not be attending the consecration ceremony. They may decide to collectively visit the Ayodhya Ram temple after the ceremony is over. This could give them a twin advantage: One, they can save themselves from being branded as anti-Ram and lay the blame at BJP’s doors for doing politics in the name of Ram temple. Two, since all the parties in the opposition bloc have not received invitations, and if a few leaders attend the ceremony, it can cause fissures in the alliance. In such a situation, the entire bloc may decide not to attend the January 22 event. The opposition leaders may collectively visit Ayodhya and offer prayers to Lord Ram after the ceremony is over.

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