Ram Mandir ceremony | Kamal Nath leads prayers, Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel hails event

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra   | Photo Credit: PTI

Ahead of the Ram Mandir ceremony in Ayodhya, Congress general secretary incharge of Uttar Pradesh Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Tuesday said the occasion should symbolise “national unity, fraternity and cultural harmony”.

In a Hindi statement posted on her twitter handle, Ms. Vadra said the character of Lord Ram is the thread that connects everyone in the Indian sub-continent, from North to South, East to West.

Other senior leaders, from former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath to Lok Sabha member Manish Tewari, articulated their support for the temple to counter the narrative that the “Congress is caught in a dilemma”.

After holding a recitation of Hanuman Chalisa at his Bhopal residence on Tuesday, Mr. Nath announced that the Congress would send 11 silver bricks to Ayodhya for the temple “on behalf of the people of Madhya Pradesh” and ‘credited’ former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi for opening the lock of the earlier temple at the disputed site in 1985.

Major tourist destination

The Congress government in Chhattisgarh also announced plans to develop religious sites associated with Lord Ram including Chandkhuri — believed to be the maternal home of Lord Ram — as a major tourist destination.

Earlier, the Congress Working Committee (CWC) had welcomed the Supreme Court order that paved the way for the temple at Ayodhya.

“Simplicity, courage, restraint, sacrifice, commitment, are the essence of Deenbandhu Rama. Ram is present in everyone, Ram is with everyone. With the message and blessings of Lord Ram and Mother Sita, the Bhoomi pujan of Ramlala’s temple should become an occasion for national unity, brotherhood and cultural harmony,” Ms Vadra said in her statement.

The Congress general secretary said Ramayana has left a deep and indelible cultural imprint in the Indian subcontinent and taught the values of dharma, righteousness, duty, love, sacrifice, compassion, love, bravery and service. Not only Lord Ram is hailed as the “ideal human but he belongs to everyone and wants everyone’s welfare”, she noted.

“For several epochs, Lord Ram’s character has been a thread that ties humanity in the Indian terrain. Lord Ram is shelter and sacrifice too,” she said. “The noted poet Maithali Sharan Gupt has described Ram as ‘the strength of the oppressed and the voiceless. Mahapran Nirala describes Lord Ram in his classical words as ‘the power of eternal truth’. Ram is courage, Ram is unity, Ram is tolerance, Ram is fraternity. Ram belongs to everyone. Lord Ram is the good and well being of all.”

Visible embrace

The Congress party’s visible embrace of the Ram Mandir ceremony, however, is also an attempt to politically counter the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) that stands to gain in the Hindi-belt States like U.P., M.P., Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Bihar.

Taking cure from Mr. Kamal Nath, Congress workers organised Human Chalisa programmes across Madhya Pradesh.

“We are sending the 11 silver bricks bought with donations from Congress members. It’s a historic day [Wednesday] for which the entire country was waiting. Hanuman Chalisa recital was done for the welfare of the State’s people,” Mr. Nath told reporters in Bhopal.

With byelections to 27 Assembly seats in the 230-strong MP Assembly expected soon, many believe Congress’s political strategy is not to allow the BJP to again project it “as a party given to minority appeasement and not bothered about Hindu sentiments”.

And the outcome of the bypolls could have bearing on the State government since the difference between the seats of the Congress and the BJP is narrow.

Slew of projects

Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel too announced a slew of projects including developing Chandkhuri, beautification of the ancient Kaushalya Mata temple complex and Turturiya’s Valmiki Ashram.

“Not just Lord Ram’s mother Kaushalya was born in Chhattisgarh, even Maharishi Valmiki who took Ram Katha through Ramayana to the entire world set up an ashram on this land and meditated there. It is also believed that Ramji’s sons Luv and Kush were born there,” Mr. Baghel said on Sunday.

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Printable version | Oct 22, 2021 12:33:02 PM |

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