Humbled that I played a pivotal role: Advani
Bharatiya Janata Party patriarch Lal Krishna Advani on Tuesday said he is humbled that destinay made him the device for the Ram Rath yatra which was taken out from Somnath in Gujarat to Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh in 1990, and served as a defining moment of the Ram Janmabhoomi movement. .
In a statement, issued hours before the ground breaking ceremony will take place in Ayodhya to mark the beginning of the construction of the Ram Temple, Advani also referred to the temple’s construction as the fulfilment of a long-pending dream, but completely sidestepped the controversy over his exclusion from the invite list.
“Sometimes significant dreams in one’s life take a long time to fruition. But when they are finally realised, the wait becomes very worthwhile. One such dream, close to my heart is now getting fulfilled,” he said.
Referring to the temple’s construction he said, “On this auspicious occasion, I want to express my gratitude to the scores of saints, leaders and people from India and the world over who made valuable contributions and sacrifices in the Ram Janmabhoomi movement. And I am also very happy that due to the decisive verdict of the Supreme Court in November 2019, the construction of Shri Ram Mandir is getting started in an environment of tranquility. This will go a long way in strengthening the bond between Indians.”
Advani who was the face of the Ram Janmabhoomi movement, along with senior BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi is also an accused in the Babri Masjid demolition case. In December 1992, kar sevaks ( religious workers) demolished the Babri Masjid that stood at the disputed Ram Janmabhoomi site. Last month Advani sat through the final deposition in the case through a video conferencing facility; the verdict by a CBI special court is expected to come by August 30.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat and a host of other senior RSS functionaries are expected to be present for the ceremony on Wednesday morning.
Advani, Joshi and former UP chief minister Kalyan Singh, also a key player in the early years of the movement, will not be present on-site. A functionary at he Vishwa Hindu Parishad claimed invitations were sent out but the leaders were requested to join the ceremony through video conferencing. “Since there is a pandemic and all three of them are elderly and in frail health it was decided that they will be requested to not be physically present for the bhoomi pujan,” said a VHP functionary. HT couldn’t immediately confirm that Advani and Joshi have received invitations.
Advani‘s statement itself made no reference to the invitation, he instead expressed hope that the construction of the temple would pave the way for inclusion. “ It is my belief that the Shri Ram Mandir will represent India as a strong, prosperous, peaceful and harmonious nation with justice for all and exclusion of none to truly usher in Ram Rajya, the epitome of good governance.”
Former union minister Uma Bharti who was also part of the Rath yatra has already announced that she will pay obeisance at the temple once the ceremony gets over to avoid the risk of infecting the PM during the ground breaking ceremony.