Akhilesh Yadav turns down Jan 22 invite, says will visit after Pran Pratishtha

Lucknow: Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav on Saturday turned down the invitation to the Pran Pratishtha ceremony at the Ram Temple in Ayodhya, joining the list of Opposition leaders to have snubbed the temple invite.

However, Akhilesh did say that he would visit the temple with his family at a later date.

CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury and a host of Congress bigwigs -- national president Mallikarjun Kharge, former president Sonia Gandhi and the party's Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury--have already turned down the invitation to the 'Pran Pratishtha' ceremony.

The SP chief and the former UP chief minister, on Friday, wrote to Champat Rai, the general secretary of the Shri Ram Janmbhoomi Teerth Kshetra, the trust entrusted with the construction of the SRam Temple, informing him of his decision to skip the event.

"Thank you for the invitation to the Pran Pratishtha ceremony of the Ram Temple and congratulations on its successful completion," read the letter written by the SP chief.

"I will surely visit Ayodhya with my family after the Pran Pratishtha ceremony," he added.

Earlier, on Friday, Akhilesh said that Samajwadis "100 per cent" believe in the tradition of country and Sanatana, adding, "Can anyone ever be invited to God's abode? We visit temples impulsively, where there is an inner calling and an urge deep down."

"We Samajwadi's 100 percent believe in our tradition and Sanatana. Today is the birth anniversary of Vivekananda. He had said that our society teaches tolerance. Those who do not trust the Constitution can never be a Sanatani. We are people who believe in Bhimrao Ambedkar," he said.

"Jab Bhagwan bulayenge, Jab Shri Ram bulayenge hum jayenge... (When God calls, when Shri Ram calls, we will go)," he added.

Earlier this month, Kharge, Sonia and Adhir turned down the invitation to the grand Ram Temple opening on January 22, calling it a 'BJP-RSS' event.

The opposition parties of the INDIA bloc have accused the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party of "using" the Ram Temple for electoral gains in the coming Lok Sabha polls.

Earlier on Friday, Congress leader Pawan Khera queried whether the event would be held under the guidance of the Shankaracharyas of the four peeths--the major shrines in the country.

"There is a system and set of rituals around 'Pran Pratishtha'. If this event is religious, then why is it not happening under the guidance of the Shankaracharyas of the Four Peeths? All four Shankaracharyas have said clearly that the 'Pran Pratishtha' cannot be done in an incomplete temple. So, if this event is not religious, then it has to be political. I cannot accept some leaders of a party serving as middlemen between me and my avowed deity. Some of our politicians are acting like 'Thekedars' (contractors). Which 'Panchang' did the BJP refer to before finalising the date? The date was chosen keeping the Lok Sabha) elections in mind," Congress leader Pawan Khera said on Friday.

However, the BJP, on the other hand, has been accusing the grand old party of hurting religious sentiments.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to preside over the 'Pran Pratistha' and ceremonial opening of the grand Ram Temple in Ayodhya on January 22.

Vedic rituals for the 'Pran-Pratishtha' ceremony of Ram Lalla (infant Lord Ram) in Ayodhya will begin on January 16, a week before the main ceremony.

A priest from Varanasi, Lakshmi Kant Dixit, will perform the main rituals of the 'Pran Pratishtha' ceremony of Ram Lalla on January 22. From January 14 to January 22, Ayodhya will mark the Amrit Mahotsav.A 1008 Hundi Mahayagya will also be organised, in which thousands of devotees will be fed. Several tent cities are being erected in Ayodhya to accommodate thousands of devotees, who are expected to arrive in the temple town of Uttar Pradesh for the grand 'Pran Pratishtha' ceremony.

According to the Sri Ram Janambhoomi Trust, arrangements will be made for 10,000-15,000 people.

( Source : ANI )
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