Congress makes tactical move to stay away from Ram Idol consecration

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The Congress leaders argue that the party cannot associate with events where Modi is in the spotlight.

RSS Ayodhya invitation

RSS Ayodhya invitation

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By Manish Anand

New Delhi, January 11: The Opposition will largely be staying away from the January 22 Ram idol consecration. The decision of the Congress to stay away from the consecration event has invited backlash for the party from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

The BJP has sought to attack the Congress by linking the decision of the party with the alleged remark of the DMK leader Udhyanidhi Stalin against ‘Sanatan Dharma’. The BJP unleashed the full might of the Union Ministers and the party leaders to launch an avalanche of attacks on the Congress for the decision to stay away from the Ram idol consecration.

Jairam Ramesh, the communication department chief of the Congress, on Wednesday evening had issued a statement to announce that the party leaders Sonia Gandhi, Mallikarjuna Kharge, and Adhir Ranjan Chaudhury will not be attending the Ram idol consecration ceremony. Ramesh underlined that faith is a personal matter. He also stated that the temple is still incomplete. He sought to suggest that the idol consecration function is planned as a political event by the BJP.

The Ramjanmabhoomi Mandir Trust member and former advisor in the PMO Nripendra Mishra along with the Vishwa Hindu Parishad Leader Alok Kumar on Thursday called on the RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat to invite him for the idol consecration ceremony. This in a way gave credence to the claims of the Congress leader that the idol consecration programme has been turned into a BJP agenda.

However, the Congress faces criticism that the party is in a habit of boycotting everything that the country is witnessing. The Congress had even boycotted the inauguration of new parliament. The common link in both the function is Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The Congress leaders argue that the party cannot associate with events where Modi is in the spotlight. The Congress leaders such as Pawan Khera on Thursday shared the clipping of the RSS mouthpiece which had run a report years ago claiming that Nripendra Mishra was a CIA agent.

The Congress appears to have taken the decision as a part of the Opposition strategy to deny the BJP taking the political advantage of the Ram Temple inauguration. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and her Trinamool Congress have already said that they would not be attending the ceremony in Ayodhya. Opposition leaders from Bihar, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Karnataka are also not going for the ceremony in Ayodhya.

The Congress appears clear that the party’s experiments in the past of soft Hindutva didn’t work in its favour. The Congress seems keen for the consolidation of the Muslim vote base in the party favour in regions where it would contest the Lok Sabha elections. The Congress leaders claim that the party’s participation in the Ayodhya ceremony would have weakened its election plank to keep focus on the issues directly affecting the livelihoods of the people such as unemployment.

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