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Rajiv Gandhi Opened Ayodhya Temple’s Lock: Kamal Nath

The former CM told priests that everyone wants the construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya.
Madhya Pradesh Congress Committee president Kamal Nath with priests and party leaders at Congress’s Temple Priest Department meeting in Bhopal on Sunday.

Madhya Pradesh Congress Committee president Kamal Nath with priests and party leaders at Congress’s Temple Priest Department meeting in Bhopal on Sunday.

Bhopal: Madhya Pradesh Congress Committee president Kamal Nath has once again reiterated that former Prime Minister (PM) Rajiv Gandhi paved the way for the opening of Ram Temple in Ayodhya. 

Everyone knows that it was Rajiv Gandhi, who opened Ayodhya Temple’s lock in 1986 (which was then Babri Mosque). But the BJP uses this issue to harness votes in the elections. Who doesn’t want construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya?” Nath told priests in Congress’s Temple Priest Department meeting at the party office on Sunday.

This wasn’t the first time when the former chief minister and ally of the late PM asserted the claim. 

On August 6, 2020, a day after PM Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone of the new Ram Temple in Ayodhya, Nath organised a Ram Darbar at his Bhopal residence. It happened weeks after he sent 11 silver bricks for the temple. He had said, “Today is a historic day. The construction of Ram temple started today. It was every Indian’s aspiration for a long time.”

Referring to Rajiv Gandhi, Nath said, “He had said that Ram temple should be constructed ... and a feeling (for the construction of Ram temple) emerged from that time. It will be wrong if someone tries to take credit for it.”

To get rid of the Congress’s anti-Hindu image, built by the BJP, the party, under the Nath’s leadership, is leaving no stone unturned to lure Hindu voters ahead of the upcoming Assembly election.

Irrespective of Nath’s claim, according to Rajiv Gandhi’s PMO Wajahat Habibullah in his book My Years with Rajiv, Arun Nehru and ML Fotedar were behind the unlocking of the gate of Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi in February 1986 by keeping the then-PM in the dark. Habibullah retired as chief information commissioner.

The Congress office in Bhopal decorated with saffron flags and cloths on Saturday.

The Congress office in Bhopal decorated with saffron flags and cloths on Saturday.

A day before the Priest Department meeting, the Congress office was dotted with saffron flags and cloths while Modi was in Bhopal to flag off the Vande Bharat train. It was done to send out the message that the Congress is a party of Hindu believers and doesn’t hesitate to demonstrate it, a Congress leader requesting anonymity told Newsclick.

In public rallies, Nath is often heard saying, “I’m a staunch Hindu believer and have built the 80-feet tall Lord Hanuman statue in Chhindwara irrespective of the BJP, which uses religion as a tool for political gain.” 

At Sunday’s gathering, he asserted that spiritual power is India’s biggest strength, which brings people together. “The spiritual power of our country is related to the culture of the country. It’s the culture, which brought people from diverse backgrounds and faiths under one flag.”

A temple priest is a “servant of society who works to bring people together on a platform”, he added.

Taking a dig at the BJP, Nath lamented, “When we go to temples to offer prayers to deities, they get angry. Does the BJP have the custodianship of Hindu religion or the saffron colour?”

Differentiating between religion and politics, he said, “Politics and religion are two different walks of life. India is known for spiritual exploration, which also reflects on our social values and feelings of the people. We have so many castes, religions, gods and goddesses but we are glued to a common culture.” 

Referring to youths who are “falling prey to fake news and radicalisation”, he said, “Our children are more faithful to WhatsApp than our tradition, culture or values which Indian culture and legacy offer. I am bothered about the younger generation. I urge priests to attract the younger generation towards spirituality.”

Recounting the religious initiatives by his short-lived government, Nath said, “We approved the funds for Mahakal Lok Corridor and Ram Van Gaman Path and released funds to renovate temples and increased salaries of priests.”

PC Sharma, former minister of the spiritual and religious department, said, “The BJP uses cows to milk votes; it has nothing to do with religion or cows. When the Congress came to power, we increased the amount allocated for a cow’s daily fodder intake from Rs 5 during the BJP’s 15-year rule to Rs 20.”  

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