Uddhav Thackeray demands Ayodhya Ram temple consecration ceremony be performed by President Murmu

The Shiv Sena (UBT) chief invites the President for a ‘maha aarti’ at a Nashik temple on the same day

January 13, 2024 12:33 pm | Updated 09:47 pm IST - Pune

Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) chief Uddhav Thackeray said after the Somnath temple in Gujarat was restored, the formal restoration ceremony was held by the country’s first president Dr. Rajendra Prasad.

Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) chief Uddhav Thackeray said after the Somnath temple in Gujarat was restored, the formal restoration ceremony was held by the country’s first president Dr. Rajendra Prasad. | Photo Credit: ANI

Shiv Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray on Saturday demanded that President Droupadi Murmu be asked to perform the January 22 consecration ceremony of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya as it was a matter of “national pride” and pertained to the “country’s self-respect”.

The former Maharashtra Chief Minister also wrote to President Murmu, inviting her to participate in an aarti at Kalaram temple in Nashik on January 22, the day of the consecration ceremony of the Ram temple in Ayodhya.

Taking potshots at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Mr. Thackeray wryly remarked that he hoped “there [would] be less of the PM in the Ram Mandir” and more idols of Lord Rama.

Also Read | Ram temple consecration ceremony invitation extended to President Droupadi Murmu

“Since this (Ayodhya Ram temple consecration) is a matter of national pride and pertains to the country’s self-respect, the consecration ceremony should be held by President Murmu,” Mr. Thackeray said, speaking to reporters in Mumbai.

Mr. Thackeray observed that after the Somnath temple in Gujarat was restored, the formal ceremony (in 1951) was attended by the country’s first president, Dr. Rajendra Prasad.

The Sena (UBT) chief had earlier announced that he, along with his party leaders and office-bearers, would visit the Kalaram temple in Nashik and perform ‘maha aarti’ on the banks of the Godavari River. Mr. Thackeray’s party will also hold a convention of party functionaries in Nashik, where he will address a rally the next day (January 23).

Remarking that the construction of the Ram Temple had been the dream of his father, the late Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray, Mr. Thackeray expressed happiness that the temple was being constructed today.

“I am a Ram bhakt, a desh bhakt [patriot], and not an andh bhakt [blind devotee]! The construction of Ram temple was also my father’s dream. The credit for making the Temple happen was due to the Shiv Sainiks and other kar sevaks who fought and agitated for the Ram mandir unlike some others [the BJP] who never hit the streets when it comes to the actual fighting,” said Mr. Thackeray, in a gibe at the BJP.

Mr. Thackeray said those Shiv Sainiks, who were part of the ‘kar seva’ in 1992, would also be felicitated in Nashik on January 23.

The former CM, who headed the erstwhile Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA), further took issue with the Prime Minister for the latter’s comments against dynastic politics (presumably directed against the Thackeray family) made during his speech at the inauguration of the trans-harbour Atal Setu on Friday.

Also read: Preparing for the Ram temple consecration

Mr. Thackeray said that the Prime Minister only saw fit to attack the Thackeray family while conveniently not saying anything about the ‘dynastic politics’ and ambitions of current Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and his son, Kalyan MP Shrikant Shinde.

In a riposte to Mr. Thackeray, Mr. Shinde hit back, stating that some people [alluding to Uddhav Thackeray] regarded the party “as their private property”. “Balasaheb Thackeray used to treat his party leaders and underlings as his colleagues. But he [Uddhav] treats them like his servants. Hence, he is facing this situation today where no one is with him anymore,” he said.

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