Alok Kumar, treasurer of the Ram Janmabhoomi Teerath Kshetra trust said in a letter given along with the money, the President has specified that the donation was in his personal capacity(PTI)
Alok Kumar, treasurer of the Ram Janmabhoomi Teerath Kshetra trust said in a letter given along with the money, the President has specified that the donation was in his personal capacity(PTI)

President Kovind donates Rs5 lakh for Ram Temple construction in Ayodhya

VHP’s international working president Alok Kumar, Govind Dev Giri, the treasure of the Ram Janmabhoomi Teerath Kshetra Trust, and former bureaucrat Nripendra Misra, who heads the temple construction committee, were part of the delegation that met the President
By Smriti Kak Ramachandran, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JAN 16, 2021 04:19 AM IST

President Ram Nath Kovind on Friday contributed Rs.500,100 for the construction of the Ram temple at Ayodhya. The amount was handed over to a delegation comprising the Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s international working president Alok Kumar, treasurer of the Ram Janmabhoomi Teerath Kshetra trust, Govind Dev Giri and former bureaucrat Nripendra Misra, who is the head of the temple construction committee.

Kumar said in a letter given along with the money, the President has specified that the donation was in his personal capacity. “He is the first citizen of the country so we went to him to initiate this drive,” he said.

Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu’s family has also donated an undisclosed amount.

The VHP, an affiliate of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s ideological parent, was at the forefront of the Ram mandir construction movement. It has now been mandated to collect funds for the temple’s construction by the temple trust.

According to VHP functionaries, the construction of the temple is expected to incur an expenditure of Rs.300-400 crore while the overall cost of the development of the temple complex which will have a prayer hall and an auditorium will be about Rs.1100 crore.

“Money is being collected from individuals as no state funding will be accepted for the construction. Volunteers will spread out to 5.25 lakh villages seeking funds from people across castes and communities,” said a VHP functionary who asked not to be named.

According to a second VHP functionary , so far, 75,000 people have contributed for the construction, of which 70,000 paid through online platforms. Donations are also being received in cash at the counters set up in Ayodhya. “ The collection boxes kept near the temple receive about Rs.15-20 lakh a month. Earlier, before the Supreme Court’s verdict this amount was in the range of Rs.2-2.5 lakh.”

As part of the collection drive, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat also visited a Valmiki Temple in Delhi where he was given a cheque for an undisclosed amount by the head of the temple, Krishna Shah Vidyarthi.

Other leaders contribute

Others who contributed on Friday include Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath (Rs.2 lakh); Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan (Rs.1 lakh); BJP leader and former MP chief minister Uma Bharti, CM of Uttarkhand Trivendra Singh Rawat who gave Rs.1.51 lakh; Uttarakhand governor Devirani Maurya who gave Rs.1.21 lakh; UP governor Anandiben Patel donated Rs.2 lakh; and a former legislator from Tezgaon in Uttar Rae, Bareli Surendra Bahadur Singh who gave Rs.1.11 crore .

Governor of Jharkhand Draupadi Murmu has also contributed an undisclosed amount.

In Delhi, where a camp office for the trust was set up, Rs.24 crore was collected on the first day itself, said a third person aware of the details.

The fund collection campaign will be carried out between January 15 and February 27. “No payments will be made without receipts. All the depositors (who have the charge of collecting the money) have been asked to deposit the money in designated accounts within 48 hours of collection. These accounts will be opened in State Bank of India, Punjab National Bank and Bank of Baroda,” Kumar said.

On whether the VHP will also visit Opposition leaders for the collection, VHP spokesperson Vinod Bansal said, “We have said we will reach out to all the people who wish to contribute. If anyone from the Congress or other parties is willing to contribute they should invite us just as the President and the Vice President did; we will go to them as well.” In Bhopal, member of Parliament Pragya Thakur, also contributed Rs.1.11 lakh.

VHP regional head Jitendra Chauhan said: “As many as 20,000 VHP workers will hold a door-to-door campaign to collect funds. The contribution drive will continue till February 27. Our target is to collect the donation of at least Rs.5 crore from Madhya Pradesh.”

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