On Friday, BJP and TMC engaged in a heated exchange over the upcoming Ram Temple inauguration in Ayodhya. The BJP accused the ruling party of West Bengal of going to great lengths to prevent them from celebrating the inauguration by holding Pujas in different parts of the state, triggering a strong response from the TMC.
The exchange stemmed from the Calcutta High Court granting permission for Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s request to conduct an “all-faith” rally on the 22nd, while requests for organizing Ram Puja in various locations of the state were denied by the state police. The rally is scheduled to commence at the Hazra crossing in South Kolkata, starting with offerings to Goddess Kali at the Kalighat Temple and proceeding to various places of worship representing different religions.
BJP’s Leader of the Opposition Suvendu Adhikari, has expressed strong displeasure, stating that the rejections of the pujas were unjustified. Adhikari criticized the police for denying permissions on “flimsy grounds”, asserting that organizing Ram Puja in Bengal has become problematic, and that “devotees in no other state have faced this problem.” BJP leaders have pushed for the State Government to declare a holiday on Monday for devotees to perform pujas. Bengal BJP State President, Sukanta Majumdar, has written to the chief minister to grant the holiday.
The TMC hit back, accusing the BJP of disseminating false information and attempting to incite communal unrest in the state. Senior TMC leaders insisted on taking strict action against the BJP leader for spreading misinformation, including the claim that the State Government ordered power cuts in areas where Ram pujas are to be held. They perceive the BJP’s actions as an attempt to leverage the issue for positive momentum ahead of the upcoming Lok Sabha elections to secure votes.
Tens of thousands of devotees are expected to gather in Ayodhya for the Ram Temple inauguration. Pujas will be conducted nationwide for those unable to attend. While the temple’s construction won’t be finished until December, this inauguration signifies the conclusion of a decade-long, highly controversial event in modern Indian history.
The site is revered by Hindus as the birthplace of Ram. On the other hand, it was the location of the historic 16th-century Babri Masjid for Muslims, which was eventually demolished by a Hindu nationalist mob in 1992. Various politicians, elected officials, and actors will participate in the celebration, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi playing a prominent role. However, leaders of opposition parties, particularly the Congress have opted out, asserting that it is a political project designed for electoral advantage.
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