LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi, two veteran BJP statesman, have confirmed that they will not visit Ayodhya for the ground-breaking ceremony of the Ram Temple. They would instead join through video-conferencing.
They were sent telephonic invitations, along with an official invitation from the General Secretary of the Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust. which was setup after the Supreme Court’s verdict, in November 2019.
Last week, Mr Advani, 92 years old, was present before a CBI inquiry to answer questions related to the destruction of the mosque that was present in Ayodhya. Though he was the leader of the Ram Temple movement in the 90s, he has denied all charges with regards to the razing of the mosque.
The CBI has accused Mr. Advani and his compatriots, of making inflammatory remarks from near the mosque, thereby fleeing communal sentiments which motivated the razing of the structure.
Mr Joshi, who also recorded his statement before the same court, has called all the allegations levied against him false.
“I was called by the court for my statement and I have told the court what was true. It does not matter to me what the judgement will be. If I am sent to the gallows, I will be blessed,” said former Union Minster Uma Bharti, who was also heard before the same court.
In the August 5 ceremony, a 40 kg silver brick will be set as the foundation stone by the Prime Minister. Due to the pandemic, the guest list has been severely shortened, and many security measures will be followed.
UP CM Kalyan Singh, who has said that he has ‘no regrets’ over the destruction of the Babri Masjid Mosque, has also been invited.
A temple official informed that top RSS leaders would also be present at the ceremony. The leader of the Shiv Sena, Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray, has not been invited, following his split from the BJP after the assembly elections. His party has demanded an invitation, saying it had given “blood and sweat” for the temple.