Press Trust of india

Difficult to attend Ram temple consecration as BJP has turned it into political event: Rahul

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Chiephobozou (Nagaland): Congress leader Rahul Gandhi alleged on Tuesday that the Ram temple consecration event in Ayodhya has been made into a “Narendra Modi and RSS-BJP function” with an “election flavour”, as he strongly defended the decision of his party’s top leaders to decline the invite to the ceremony.

Gandhi’s remarks at a press conference during the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra here came days after the Congress top brass declined the invitation to the event at the Ram temple in Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh.

“The RSS and the BJP have made the January 22 function a completely political, Narendra Modi function. It has become an RSS-BJP function. I think that is why the Congress president (Mallikarjun Kharge) said he will not go to the function. We are open to all religions, all practices. Even the biggest authorities of the Hindu religion have made their views public on what they think about the January 22 event — that it is a political function,” Gandhi said.

“It is difficult for us to go to a political function, which is designed around the prime minister of India and the RSS. We have made it clear that whoever among our partners or our party would like to visit the Ram temple is welcome to do it. It is difficult for us to visit (the temple) on January 22. That this is a prime minister’s function and an RSS function and we are going to attend it … it is not possible,” he added.

“We cannot be a party to a political function. It is very difficult for us when the prime minister of India and the RSS, our principal opponents, have captured a function and turned it into an election function…. The BJP and the RSS have given an election flavour to the event,” the former Congress chief said.

On the opposition INDIA bloc, he asserted that the alliance is strong and will defeat the Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.

“There is mutual respect and affection between the leaders in the INDIA formation. The INDIA formation is an ideological formation that is placing itself in opposition to the idea of the RSS and the BJP. I am very confident that small problems in the alliance will be resolved. We will fight together and defeat them,” Gandhi said.

Replying to a question on the status of the alliance with the Trinamool Congress, he said, “The status of the INDIA alliance is very good. We are in conversation with our partners, the issue of seat sharing is being taken up and I think it is going quite well. A lot of those are quite simple, I am quite confident that they will be resolved.”

Gandhi asserted that the opposition alliance will win the Lok Sabha polls expected to be held in April-May.

“I see the INDIA bloc placed very well in taking on the BJP in 2024,” he said.

The Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra led by Gandhi reached Nagaland on Monday evening after it began in Thoubal in Manipur on January 14.

Talking about the yatra, Gandhi said it is an ideological event designed to place an alternative vision to that of the BJP-RSS combine.

“This is an ideological yatra designed to place certain issues on the table…. A huge amount of injustice is taking place. There will be an election process, we will take part in it, this yatra is to present certain ideas and an alternative vision to what the BJP says, the divisive vision of BJP,” the Congress leader said.

The march will pass through 100 Lok Sabha constituencies in 15 states, traversing 6,713 km, mostly in buses but also on foot, and culminate in Mumbai on March 20 or 21.

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