File image of veteran BJP leaders Murli Manohar Joshi (left) and L.K. Advani | Photo: PTI
File image of veteran BJP leaders Murli Manohar Joshi (left) and L.K. Advani | Photo: PTI
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New Delhi: None of the five faces of the Ram Janmabhoomi movement in the 1980s and 90s — Lal Krishna Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Kalyan Singh, Uma Bharti and Vinay Katiyar — will attend Wednesday’s Ram Mandir bhoomi pujan (ground breaking) ceremony in Ayodhya.

But while Singh, Bharti and Katiyar featured on the invitees’ list for the ceremony, veteran BJP leaders Advani and Joshi’s names weren’t even on it, leading to questions about why they were left out.

Former deputy prime minister Advani was one of the central figures of the Ram Janmabhoomi movement — his 1990 Rath Yatra from Somnath to Ayodhya is cited as the catalyst that turned it into a mass movement, and eventually led to the demolition of the Babri Masjid on 6 December 1992, as well as the rise of the BJP as a national political powerhouse. Joshi, meanwhile, was the president of the BJP when the masjid was demolished.


Also read: ‘Ram Mandir event Diwali for all Hindus’ — Ritambhara says movement leaders can’t be forgotten


The question of age

Champat Rai, general secretary of the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teertha Kshetra Trust, said at a press conference Monday that age was a factor behind Advani not being invited — he said due to the Covid-19 pandemic, people above the age of 90 were advised to stay away. Advani is 92.

However, that does not answer why Joshi, who is 86, is not on the invitees’ list, but former UP CM Kalyan Singh, 88, is.

Rai had said, “we have requested Kalyan Singh ji not to come due to age, and he agreed”, adding that “we spoke to both Advani ji and Murli Manohar Joshi ji. They expressed their inability to come on their own”.

However, sources close to Advani insisted that he had not received any formal or informal invite or phone call from any quarter until Monday night.

The fact is that Ram Janmabhoomi Teertha Kshetra Trust chairman Mahant Nritya Gopal Dass, though much younger than the trio of BJP leaders, is also 82 years old, but will be present on the main dais with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

‘They were on original list’

Sources in the Vishva Hindu Parishad also told ThePrint that Champat Rai was supposed to call Advani and Joshi, but neither leader had received a call until Monday night.

A senior functionary of the Ram Janmabhoomi Teertha Kshetra Trust told ThePrint that in the original invitees’ list, both Advani and Joshi’s names were present.

“But we don’t know what happened after the list was sent to the Prime Minister’s Office. We were told that Champat Rai will call them and request them to attend the ceremony via a video link,” the functionary said.

The functionary went on to say that when both Advani and Joshi had appeared in the Babri demolition case trial via video-conferencing, they could’ve also attended the ceremony virtually.


Also read: Karnataka astrologer who set Ram Mandir ceremony date can’t make it but still feels blessed


 

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8 Comments Share Your Views

8 COMMENTS

  1. It is mainly due to Advani, that the Ram Temple is finally being realised! He was the key architect for its fruition! And, also of steering the BJP to power at the Centre! Not inviting him is a disgrace! And giving alibis and excuses of his age is most ludicrous! He is fitter than Modi and Bhagwat combined!

  2. गुरुर ब्रह्मा गुरुर विष्णु , गुरुर देवो महेश्वरः ,

    गुरुर साक्षात परम ब्रह्म , तस्मै श्री गुरुवे नमः

    Old teachings of Hinduism are forgotten by the rulers but new temples are being built. Attachment to power and fame makes one forget everything else.

  3. Just your head these two are in their late 80’s and under current covid scenario if they get infected, they will surely die.

  4. Simple. Advani is not invited because he is originally from Pakistan. And M M Joshi is a doctorate in Physics, educated. Both do not fit in Modi’s BJP.

  5. Great decision of keeping invites list to bare minimum during covid19 pandemic. Modiji I must congratulate you for your belief in the good sense of HINDUS who want to see the SHRI RAM MANDIR shilanyas n not who’s attending.

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