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Some think coronavirus will go away by building temple: Pawar

By Faisal Malik, Mumbai
PUBLISHED ON JUL 20, 2020 12:32 AM IST

The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar on Sunday taunted the Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi over news reports that the latter is going for ground breaking ceremony of Ram Mandir at Ayodhya in first week of August. Pawar said that some people may be of the opinion that the coronavirus will go away by building temple, hence such an event might have been scheduled.

He said that for them (NCP) tackling coronavirus is more important as it is impacting the economy of the country as well small businesses. The NCP chief also said that they want the state and Central government to focus more on the existing health crisis.

“For us, working to bring out people from the coronavirus crisis is more important. Some people may be of the view that the virus will go away by building the temple, and with that sentiment such programme might have been scheduled. I don’t know the exact reason behind this,” Pawar said in a press conference in Solapur.

The NCP chief, however, did not named anyone in particular. “For us fighting the coronavirus crisis is more important as it is leading to lockdown that is impacting the economy, small businesses and others. We want the state and Central government to focus more on the existing health crisis,” the veteran leader said.

The BJP slammed this jibe saying there was no need for cheap politics as Ram Mandir was about faith of millions of Hindus.

“Everyone knows that Covid-19 is not going to go away by building of the Ram Mandir. They should focus on their state. Is coronavirus going to go away by buying expensive cars for their ministers, by not giving farmers loan waiver or black marketing of 20 masks for 200. There is no need for this cheap politics, Mandir is about the faith of millions of Hindus,” said BJP leader and former minister Sudhir Mungantiwar.

The Shiv Sena, however, has welcomed the finalisation of the foundation laying ceremony date and said that it is not bothered whether party leaders are invited or not.

Sena’s south Mumbai member of parliament (MP) and former Union minister Arvind Sawant said that the issue over invitation should not be politicised. “I do not know if there is any invitation or not. If it comes, Uddhavji will decide whether to go or not. For us, the Ram Mandir is a matter of happiness, therefore if we are invited or not invited is not a matter of respect or disrespect. We are directly connected to Lord Ram and Ayodhya,” he said, while speaking to a regional news channel.

Sawant added that Shiv Sena is associated with the Ram Mandir movement since the beginning and its contribution is equally important. “How would we know if they (the organisers) would invite us or not? It depends on them (organisers). Lord Ram is a matter of faith, there is no need to give it a political colour. Bear in mind that we are the ones involved in laying the foundation for the Ram Mandir. The sadhus of Akhadas were fighting a legal battle, and [our contribution] is equally important,” he said.

The parliamentarian added that Shiv Sena president and Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray visited Ayodhya and also donated Rs 5 crore to the temple trust for the construction of Ram Temple.

The Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teertha Kshetra Trust on Saturday forwarded tentative dates — August 3 and 5 — for Ayodhya temple’s bhoomi pujan to the Prime Minister’s office. The decision was taken in a meeting called by the trust.

Some reports also suggests that the Prime Minister is going to attend the ceremony on August 5.

The Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teertha Kshetra Trust was formed in February on the direction of the Supreme Court.

In November last year, the Supreme Court had ruled that the then disputed land in Ayodhya would be given to a government-run trust for building a Ram Mandir and Muslims be given a five-acre suitable plot elsewhere in the district.

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