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Sonia bypasses VHP bridge

New Delhi, Dec. 26: Sonia Gandhi has come to the bridge, but she will not cross it because the VHP has “engineered” the occasion.

The Vishwa Hindu Parishad has sent invitations to all MPs, including the Congress president who represents Rae Bareli in the Lok Sabha, for a “mega rally” in Delhi in support of the Ram Setu on December 30.

Specifically asked if Sonia was also being invited, VHP president Ashok Singhal said: “Everybody, all the members of Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha, have been sent invitations. If Sonia Gandhi hasn’t resigned from the Lok Sabha, she would certainly have received our letter.”

Singhal added that he would not allow any one party to hijack the Ram Setu movement but participation of every political party was welcome.

But the Congress said there was no questions of the party leader participating in the VHP rally. “This is a political rally no matter what the VHP says. They want to politicise the Ram Setu issue. Instead of organising such rallies, the VHP should repent as the project was cleared by the NDA, not the Congress. The leadership of the BJP was a party to the decision. If the VHP has any doubt, they should seek an appointment with the Prime Minister to ascertain facts instead of dividing society,” Congress chief spokesperson Veerappa Moily said.

The Centre had once burned its fingers when a government affidavit — hurriedly revised in the face of a backlash — questioned whether Ram existed at all. The declaration was made to support the contention that the Ram Setu is natural and hence, can be removed for the Sethusamudram project that would cut maritime travel time.

Singhal claimed that railway minister Lalu Prasad had expressed support to the Ram Setu cause when he called on him for railway arrangements for the participants. But the claim could not be verified with the railway minister, who so far had not given any indication that his stand was different from that of the Centre.

Singhal said the rally would be addressed by religious leaders, including Shankaracharyas, and “experts” on the setu, but no politician. The VHP wanted Delhi’s Boat Club as the venue but the Centre did not agree, he said.

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