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regular-article-logo Friday, 24 May 2024

Congress ‘pilgrims’ visit Ayodhya on Makar Sankranti after BJP's 'anti-Hindu' charge

The Congress team included Rajya Sabha member Deepender Singh Hooda, national spokesperson Supriya Shirnate, general secretary in charge of Uttar Pradesh Avinash Pandey, and state unit president Ajay Rai. They also had khhichri at the ashram of Mahant Satyendra Das, chief priest of the Ram temple

Piyush Srivastava Lucknow Published 16.01.24, 06:18 AM
Rajya Sabha member Deepender Singh Hooda and national spokesperson Supriya Shirnate

Rajya Sabha member Deepender Singh Hooda and national spokesperson Supriya Shirnate X/@DeependerSHooda

Over 50 Congress leaders took the holy dip in the Saryu in Ayodhya on Makar Sankranti and worshipped at the Ram temple and the Hanuman Garhi shrine, suggesting they were with Lord Ram while being against the BJP-led January 22 consecration.

Monday’s development comes days after members of the Congress high command declined invitations to the temple consecration, calling the event a political one, and the BJP hit back by painting the main Opposition party as "anti-Hindu".

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The Congress team to Ayodhya included Rajya Sabha member Deepender Singh Hooda, national spokesperson Supriya Shirnate, general secretary in charge of Uttar Pradesh Avinash Pandey, and state unit president Ajay Rai. They also had khhichri at the ashram of Mahant Satyendra Das, chief priest of the Ram temple.

Later, the Congress leaders portrayed their visit as a matter of personal faith and pilgrimage, emphasising that Lord Ram belonged to all Hindus.

"The Congress members took the holy dip in the Saryu on the occasion of Makar Sankranti and then offered prayers at the Hanuman Garhi and Ram Lala temples because the god wanted us to do so. It’s a pilgrimage for us and nothing else,” Pandey said.

"Those trying to create a controversy over our visit believe that the god belongs to them alone and not to all Hindus around the world." Hooda said he had visited the Ram temple in Ayodhya several times in the past too.

Uttar Pradesh deputy chief minister and BJP leader Keshav Prasad Maurya accused the Congress of duplicity. "On the one hand they have refused to attend the consecration programme on January 22, and on the other they are visiting the temple on Makar Sankranti. They are doing politics in the name of God," he told reporters.

Satyendra Das said: "I am a priest and my doors are open to all. We had organised a khhichri distribution programme on the occasion of Makar Sankranti and welcomed all those who came."

Champat Rai, general secretary of the temple trust, said the old Ram Lala idol that is currently in the makeshift temple would be shifted to the new temple on January 22.

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