Ram Mandir Inauguration Invitations: Among Netas, Who's In and Who's Out?

While CPI (M) declined the invite, among Opposition netas, will Sonia Gandhi, Kharge attend the Ram mandir event?

5 min read
Hindi Female

With less than a month to go for the Pran Pratishtha (consecration) of the Ram temple in Ayodhya in 2024, a row over who has been invited and who has nodded to attending the ceremony across party lines has gained ground. Expectedly, the inauguration, headline by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has become a political issue ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, which are due in less than four months.

Invitations to the 22 January event have been sent to religious leaders and actors, but there's a lot of uncertainty and curiosity as to who will attend from among Opposition leaders.

While the Ram Mandir Trust has invited Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge and senior leader Sonia Gandhi, there's no official confirmation on their answer yet.

However, some days ago, Congress leader Digvijaya Singh told news agency ANI:

"What objection can be there? Sonia ji is very positive on this matter. Either Sonia ji will go or a delegation from the party will go."

During the consecration ceremony, PM Modi is set to place Lord Ram’s idol in the sanctum sanctorum in the presence of priests and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will not to attend the inauguration of Ram Mandir in Ayodhya, PTI reported, quoting sources.

It's a No From Yechury

"The CPI(M) policy has been to respect religious beliefs & safeguarding the right of every individual to pursue their belief. Religion is a personal choice not to be converted into an instrument for political gain..." stated general secretary of the party Sitaram Yechury.

Speaking to ANI, Yechury said that the Constitution lays down that the state shall not profess any particular religion or have any religious affiliation.

"What is happening in this inauguration ceremony is that it has been converted into a state-sponsored event with the Prime Minister, UP CM and others holding Constitutional positions... This is straightforward politicisation of the religious belief of the people which is not in consonance with the Constitution. Therefore, in these circumstances, I regret not being able to attend the event."
Sitaram Yechury
While CPI (M) declined the invite, among Opposition netas, will Sonia Gandhi, Kharge attend the Ram mandir event?

Sitaram Yechury posted this statement on X.

(Photo: X)

Echoing his statement, CPI (M) leader Brinda Karat underlined her party's decision to skip the programme, describing it as the "politicisation of a religious programme".

"No, we will not go. We respect the religious beliefs... but they are connecting a religious programme with politics. Using religion as a political weapon or to advance a political agenda is not right," Karat told ANI.

Shortly after the party declined the invitation, Union Minister Meenakshi Lekhi hit back saying, "Invitations were sent to all (but) only those called by Lord Ram will come."

'Show-Off', Says Kapil Sibal

The Left leaders are apparently not the only Opposition politician to have refused the invitation.

Ex-Congress leader Kapil Sibal said he has "Lord Ram in my heart" and, therefore, didn't feel the need to attend the ceremony, which will likely be a show of strength by the BJP before the elections.

Sibal attacked the BJP for being a "show-off" and said: "They talk about Lord Ram but their character is nowhere close. Truthfulness, tolerance, sacrifice, and respect for others are some of the traits of Ram but they do exactly the opposite... you need to have Ram's principles in your heart."

Meanwhile, Congress MP KC Venugopal had earlier expressed his gratitude for the invitation. Later, on being asked regarding the confirmation of the invites, he said, "You will (be told) about the party's stand... you will know on 22 January. They (the BJP) invited us. We are very thankful for inviting us... let us (see)."

On the other hand, the chairman of the Indian Overseas Congress, Sam Pitroda, stated that the Ram mandir as a national issue does not sit right with him.

"I have no problem with any religion. It is okay to go visit the temple once in a while, but you can't make that the main platform. 40% of the people voted for BJP and 60% of the people do not vote for BJP. He is everybody's PM and not a party's PM and that's the message the people of India want him to have. Talk about employment, inflation, science, technology and challenged. They (people) have to decide what are the real issues — is Ram mandir the real issue?"
Sam Pitroda, reported by ANI

Former prime ministers Manmohan Singh and HD Deve Gowda and Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury have also been invited. The process of sending the invites is still underway and in the coming days more Opposition leaders might receive the invites.

VHP Invites Advani, MM Joshi

After the Ram Temple Trust requested veteran Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi not to attend the consecration of the Ram Temple, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) invited Advani and Joshi to Ayodhya next month.

VHP president Alok Kumar said that both BJP veterans said that they will try their best to attend the 22 January event in Ayodhya.

"The pioneers of the Ram Mandir movement, Advani ji and Murli Manohar Joshi ji were invited to attend the consecration ceremony. Both of them said that they will try their best to come," the VHP quoted president Alok Kumar as saying on X.


On PM Modi's visit to Ayodhya, Keshav Prasad Maurya, the deputy chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, also highlighted, "PM Modi will be visiting (UP) on 30 December and the Ayodhya airport will be inaugurated."

Accepting the invite means walking a slippery slope for the Opposition leaders as by doing so, they might potentially isolate minority votes, particularly from the Muslim community which are key in a state which sends 80 MPs to the Lok Sabha and in which Muslims account for almost 20 percent of the total population.

Besides political leaders, invitations have also been extended to many Hindi cinema actors. Akshay Kumar, Amitabh Bachchan, Ajay Devgn, Ranbir Kapoor, Alia Bhatt, Anupam Kher, and Madhuri Dixit-Nene are among the celebrities reportedly.

Industrialists Ratan Tata, Mukesh Ambani, and Gautam Adani as well as sports icons Sachin Tendulkar and Virat Kohli are also expected to attend. The organisers plan to host representatives from 50 foreign countries.

On the whole, the temple Trust has sent invitations to 7,000 people, including 3,000 VVIPs for the consecration. The families of kar sevaks killed in the police firing in Ayodhya will also be invited to the ceremony, IANS reported, quoting sources.

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