CASTIGATING THE Central and State governments for failing to furnish the money, Pradesh Congress Committee minorities’ cell vice-president Akhtar Baig on Saturday offered to personally pick up the tab for the puja (prayers) of the idol of Ram Lalla in Ayodhya and the distribution of prasad (consecrated sweetmeats) among worshippers.
When the governments are spending crores of rupees on maintenance of the Janmasthal why do they shy away from providing the mere Rs 35,000 per month that it would take to but puja and prasad material, Baig demanded to know.
In a statement issued here the Congressman charged that puja arrangements have been haywire for the last six months ever since the Divisional Commissioner, Faizabad, proceeded on leave. Both the Centre and State governments are busy passing the buck with each claiming that the responsibility of bearing puja costs lies on the other, he added.
The BJP which used the Ram Mandir plank to ride to power has also washed its hands off the matter charged the Congressman and added that neither Advani nor Vajpayee or any other leader had taken up the issue during the party’s ongoing national executive committee meet in Lucknow.
Even those who are willing to get their throats slit (gala kataa lenge) for Ram Lalla, a reference to statements by VHP supremo Ashok Singhal during a recent visit, are surprisingly silent about the government’s failure to make puja arrangements, said Baig.
Given these circumstances I offer to bear the monthly puja costs at Ayodhya as a mark of respect for the sentiments of millions of people across the world who venerate Ram Lalla, the statement concluded.