Ahead of Ram Temple ceremony, AAP holds Sundarkand recitals in Delhi

Party organises recital of Ramayana chapter in all Assembly segments, says its MLAs will arrange the programme in their areas once a month

Published - January 17, 2024 01:46 am IST - New Delhi

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his wife, Sunita, at Shri Balaji Temple in Rohini Sector 11 on Tuesday.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his wife, Sunita, at Shri Balaji Temple in Rohini Sector 11 on Tuesday. | Photo Credit: ANI

With less than a week left for the inauguration of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Tuesday organised recitals of the Sundarkand across all 70 Assembly constituencies of the city.

The party had on January 12 made the announcement to organise these recitals, in the backdrop of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led Central government making grand preparations for the Ram Temple consecration.

Sundarkand, one of the chapters of Valmiki’s epic ‘Ramayana’, is dedicated to Lord Hanuman’s journey to Lanka and is recited at Hindu prayer meetings by devotees.

Chief Minister and AAP national convener Arvind Kejriwal attended a recital with his wife, Sunita, at Shri Balaji Mandir in Rohini Sector 11. After performing a havan on the occasion, the CM said, “I pray to Lord Ram and Lord Hanuman for everyone’s progress, security, prosperity, and well-being. We are committed to conducting Sundarkand recitals across Delhi every month.”

In a statement, AAP said its MLAs organised the recitals in their respective constituencies and its councillors took charge where the legislators could not be present.

The party added that its MLAs have held such recitals in their individual capacity in the past, but they will henceforth organise the recitals on the first Tuesday of every month in their respective constituencies.

Over the years, AAP has made overtures to Hindu voters. After his party’s electoral wins in Delhi in 2020 and Punjab in 2022, Mr. Kejriwal had offered prayers at temples of Lord Hanuman.

‘Electoral opportunism’

The BJP, however, accused Mr. Kejriwal of organising Sundarkand recitals due to “electoral opportunism”. Bansuri Swaraj, secretary of the party’s Delhi unit, said, “While reciting the Sundarkand, did he invite his own MLA Rajendra Pal Gautam, a man who talked about boycotting Hindu scriptures and Ramayana?” She added that the AAP chief should take action against the MLA.

A Buddhist and a prominent Dalit face of AAP, Mr. Gautam had in 2022 participated in an event in the city where several attendees pledged to adopt Buddhism, which resulted in him being targeted by the BJP.

Meanwhile, AAP MP Raghav Chadha defended his party over organising the recitals, hours after All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen chief Asaduddin Owaisi hit out at the decision.

“Arvind Kejriwalji is a great devotee of Lord Shri Ram. Any big step he takes, he does after taking the blessings of Lord Ram and Hanuman. I don’t think we need the certificate of any leader,” he told reporters without naming anyone.

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