New Delhi: The Congress party’s endorsement of and support for the Ram Mandir bhoomi pujan hasn’t gone down well with the party’s Kerala wing.
T.N. Prathapan, Congress Lok Sabha MP from Thrissur, said the top brass’ support for the temple was akin to “bowing low for the temporary successes”.
“We can’t chase an extreme religious nationalism with its soft prototype,” Prathapan said in a letter to Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi. ThePrint has accessed the letter which is dated 4 August.
Prathapan also took special objection to statements by several Congress leaders, including former Madhya Pradesh chief ministers Kamal Nath and Digvijaya Singh.
Both Nath and Singh, who are senior party leaders, emphatically supported the construction of the Ram Mandir, with Nath even announcing that the Madhya Pradesh Congress was sending 11 silver bricks for the construction of the Mandir. Singh said that former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi also wanted the temple to be built.
Prathapan wrote that Nath and Singh’s statements had “disappointed” him a lot.
“There are million people who are grieving in the memories of Babari Masjid even though they are accepting the court verdict. Because demolition was a kind of attack to their conscience. We are including that demography also. We can’t leave them in a despair. And sadly, the party has been left in defense by their statements (sic),” Prathapan wrote.
“I believe that what ultimately matters is not the failures we face, but it is matter that we are not bowing low for temporary success (sic),” he added.
‘Priyanka Gandhi’s support understandable’
Prathapan’s disagreement with the party’s position on the Ram Mandir comes at a time when the Congress’ ally in Kerala, the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), also objected to Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s support for the mandir.
“We express our disagreement on the statement issued by Priyanka Gandhi on the construction of the temple in Ayodhya. Her statement is very much out of place,” said a two-line resolution passed by the IUML Wednesday.
The Congress general secretary’s statement in support of the bhoomi pujan said she hoped the ceremony becomes a symbol of “national unity”.
Prathapan said Priyanka’s position was “acceptable” given that “she is wishing unity in the name of temple”.
However, “we certainly know that such unity wouldn’t be there as far as Sangh Parivar has power.”
“Still, by considering the ground realities of the politics in North India, especially in Uttar Pradesh, Smt. Priyanka ji has kept the concern and dignity in her statement,” Prathapan wrote.
‘Ayodhya Ram temple built by Sangh Parivar won’t have sanctity’
Multiple Congress leaders had complained that the bhoomi pujan seemed like a BJP-RSS event, with the party “stealing all the credit”.
But Prathapan was of the opinion that the Congress should not have any stakes in such an event.
“I think this particular event is a Sangh Parivar sponsored ‘religious political’ one. If we are not invited to this, why would our leaders beg for that?,” Prathapan stated.
The Kerala Congress MP said he too is a Hindu believer and noted that he did not have anything against temples in general.
“I strongly believe that a temple built by Sangh Parivar with the intentions of extreme communal politics will not be bearing the sanctity of other Ram temples built upon devotion and tolerance,” he wrote.
Why news media is in crisis & How you can fix it
You are reading this because you value good, intelligent and objective journalism. We thank you for your time and your trust.
You also know that the news media is facing an unprecedented crisis. It is likely that you are also hearing of the brutal layoffs and pay-cuts hitting the industry. There are many reasons why the media’s economics is broken. But a big one is that good people are not yet paying enough for good journalism.
We have a newsroom filled with talented young reporters. We also have the country’s most robust editing and fact-checking team, finest news photographers and video professionals. We are building India’s most ambitious and energetic news platform. And have just turned three.
At ThePrint, we invest in quality journalists. We pay them fairly. As you may have noticed, we do not flinch from spending whatever it takes to make sure our reporters reach where the story is.
This comes with a sizable cost. For us to continue bringing quality journalism, we need readers like you to pay for it.
If you think we deserve your support, do join us in this endeavour to strengthen fair, free, courageous and questioning journalism. Please click on the link below. Your support will define ThePrint’s future.