JAIPUR: Caught in a row over its donation drive for the proposed Ram temple in Ayodhya, the Congress’ student wing NSUI has sought to reject ‘soft Hindutva,’ saying its campaign would “expose” RSS affiliates.
The NSUI in Rajasthan has launched a fortnight-long drive — Re 1 Ram Ke Naam — to collect donations for the Ayodhya temple. The special drive would seek a token one rupee from each student in schools, colleges and universities across the state.
Critics have termed the drive as a ‘soft saffron’ approach to win Hindu votes. The NSUI, however, claimed it was meant to send a message that “God needs devotion, not money”.
The NSUI sought to clarify that its aim was to tell the people that Lord Ram belongs to everyone and that people of all religions have equal faith in the Hindu god.
“We want to expose the way people are being looted by groups affiliated to the BJP and RSS. They are pressuring the public to donate money in the name of Lord Ram. Our campaign is meant to tell the people that God doesn’t need money but needs devotion. If you donate one rupee out of devotion, it is as much as those donating crores,” said NSUI Rajasthan chief Abhishek Choudhary.
He charged RSS groups with looting Rs 14,000 crore from people in the name of bricks for the temple between 1989 and 2000.
“They continue to collect funds in the same fashion,” said Choudhary.
“They never gave any account of how those funds were used to promote their political agenda. They have done nothing but divide people in the name of Ram. But we want to say that Lord Ram is not their monopoly; he belongs to all 135 crore people of the country,” he said.
The Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust, responsible for building Ram Temple, is conducting a nationwide fundraising campaign since January 14 for the construction of a grand Ram temple estimated to cost around Rs 1,100 crore. RSS-affiliates are collecting funds.
They say all funds are being collected through receipt books and every rupee will be well accounted for. RSS leader (prant pracharak) in Jaipur, Dr. Shailendra said, “Our aim is not to collect big funds but to connect every citizen with construction of the temple. We have coupons of `10 and people can pay digitally too,” he said.