Modi may not do Bhoomi Puja: Turf war in Ayodhya

KT NEWS SERVICE. Dated: 8/4/2020 10:40:00 AM

NEW DELHI, Aug 3: Prime Minister Narendra Modi landing in Ayodhya on Wednesday for the launch of construction of the grand Ram Mandir there may not perform the Bhoomi Puja nor would he be the 'Yajman' (host) at the function, according to an aide of Mahant Nritya Gopal Das, chairman of the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi TeerthKshetra Trust, which was set up by the Government in February to oversee the construction.
"He will only lay the foundation stone," said the chairman's assistant Kamal Nayan, contradicting the statement of trust general secretary Champat Rai last week that the PM will perform the Bhoomi Puja. Sources in Ayodhya said a turf war has broken out among the organisers ahead of the ceremonies starting on Tuesday. They said the chairman is annoyed since he has been sidelined having no say because the RSS, VHP and the central government officials are deciding everything for the event.
The invitation card clearly states Bhoomi Puja and start of construction (karyarambh) of Ram Mandir by Prime Minister Modi, with RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat as the chief guest. The invite has been issued in the name of Governor Anandi Ben Patel and CM Yogi Adityanath.
Mahant is also opposed to Modi laying the foundation as he claims the foundation was already laid in 1992 after the demolition of the Babri Mosque. There will be only five VIPs on the stage -- PM Modi, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, Governor Anandiben, CM Yogi Adityanath and Mahant Nritya Gopal Das.
Chairman Mahant Das is also angry over dropping BJP patriarch Lal Krishna Advani (92) from the function despite his Rath-Yatra materialising the Hindus' dream of the Ram Mandir, in which Modi had no contribution. He expressed his annoyance when told that Advani and another veteran Dr Murli Manohar Joshi (86) told to watch the ceremony on TV like any other Indian. Even Home Minister Amit Shah, who was admitted to a private hospital in Gurgaon on Sunday after testing positive, will not be accompanying Modi to attend the ceremony.
A Trust official said both have been conveyed difficulty to accommodate them and they have agreed to attend the ceremony virtually from Delhi. He said this was suggested to them because of their age and spread of corona virus in the region.
He said the original plan was to 280 persons but after the intervention of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, the list was pruned to 200. The number of invitees has been further cut down to 170 after one of the temple priests and 14 police personnel posted in the temple complex were found Covid-19 positive.
Acharya Satyendra Das (88), the chief priest of the makeshift Ram Mandir in Aydhya, was on Sunday stopped from going to the temple Sunday morning, citing the pandemic protocol. He was also told that the state government has decided to bar him from the Wednesday function. What to say of the Acharya, three other priests who had been tested Covid negative were also asked to stay in home quarantine.



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