RJD chief Lalu Prasad to skip Ayodhya Ram temple consecration ceremony

On the other hand, Janata Dal (United) national president and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has not issued any official statement so far

January 17, 2024 01:51 pm | Updated 02:36 pm IST - Patna

 Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad. File

Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad. File | Photo Credit: ANI

Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad, an important alliance partner from the Opposition INDIA bloc, on January 17 announced that he will not attend the consecration ceremony of the Ayodhya Ram temple on January 22.

Earlier many leaders of INDIA bloc such as Sharad Pawar of the Nationalist Congress Party, Mamata Banerjee of Trinamool Congress, Sonia Gandhi and Mallikarjun Kharge of the Congress and Uddhav Thackerary of Shiv Sena (UBT) have said that they would skip the ceremony which would be attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Also read | Opposition continues to struggle with calibrating a response to Ram temple festivities

Asked about attending the consecration ceremony of Ayodhya Ram Mandir, Mr. Prasad said, “No, I will not attend.”

Mr. Prasad said this in Patna on Wednesday while having a brief interaction with the media. On the other hand, Janata Dal (United) national president and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has not issued any official statement so far on his visit to Ayodhya. Temple trust member Kamehswar Chaupal has sent him an invitation.

Senior BJP leader and Rajya Sabha MP Sushil Kumar Modi earlier this week had asked if Mr. Kumar and Mr. Lalu Prasad respected all faiths — sometimes offering Chadar, and sometimes paying obeisance in the Gurudwara — why should they hesitate in visiting Ayodhya Dham?

Mr. Sushil Modi had also said that if Mr. Prasad’s family visited Mathura, Vrindavan and Tirupati Balaji temples, then they should also visit Ayodhya Dham. He had expressed his disappointment saying that Ram belonged to everyone and it was unfortunate that RJD-JD-(U) and other partners of INDIA bloc were distancing themselves from Shabari, Kevat and Valmiki’s Ram.

When asked about seat sharing for the Lok Sabha poll getting delayed, Mr. Prasad further said, “Seat sharing takes time. It will be announced at the appropriate time.”

The former Chief Minister and former Union Minister also denied rumours of any rift within the alliance in Bihar. Mr. Prasad stressed all was well. His statement came as many BJP leaders of Bihar had raised questions on the brief visit of Mr. Kumar to Mr. Prasad’s residence on the day of Dahi-Chura feast on January 15. Mr. Kumar had visited 10, Circular Road residence and stayed nearly for 15 minutes.  

After that Mr. Sushil Modi had issued a statement that Mr. Kumar stayed only for seven minutes and Mr. Prasad did not even apply tilak of curd on his forehead the way he did in 2017.   

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