Difficult to attend Ram temple consecration as BJP has turned it into political event: Rahul Gandhi

Gandhi criticizes BJP for politicizing Ram temple event, says they are giving an election flavour to it
 Congress leader Rahul Gandhi addresses supporters during the 'Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra', in Kohima, Nagaland on Jan 16
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi addresses supporters during the 'Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra', in Kohima, Nagaland on Jan 16Photo | PTI

CHIEPHOBOZOU: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday said it is difficult for his party's leaders to attend the January 22 Ram temple consecration ceremony as the BJP and the RSS have turned it into a "political event" centred around Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Addressing media persons in Nagaland on the third day of ‘Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra’, Gandhi said an election and political flavour had been given to the political function of BJP-RSS.

Calling the Ram Mandir event as a political function, party chief Mallikarjun Kharge said that Congress has decided not to visit the temple on January 22.

He said it is difficult for the Congress to go to a political function designed around the PM and the RSS.

“RSS-BJP made the January 22 function a completely political Narendra Modi function. It has become an RSS-BJP function but we cannot be a party to a political function. It becomes very difficult for us when the PM of India and the RSS, our principal opponent, have captured a function and turned it into an election function,” Gandhi said.

Stating that Congress is open to all religions and practices, he pointed out the “biggest authorities of the Hindu religion” made their views public about what they think about the January 22 function – that it is a political function.

“We made it clear that whoever would like to visit the Ram temple from among our partners, (they are) more than welcome to do it,” he said.

To a query on the INDIA alliance, Gandhi claimed there is mutual respect and affection among the leaders of the formation. He said it is an ideological formation which is basing itself in opposition to the idea of RSS-BJP.

“I am sure the small problems in the INDIA alliance will be resolved. We will fight together against the BJP in the elections and defeat them,” he said.

On the unresolved ‘Naga political problem’, Gandhi said he spoke to some Naga leaders and they were perplexed why no progress could be made.

“Frankly, we are not even clear about what the PM envisioned in terms of a solution. It is a superficial document that says we are going to work towards peace and joint sovereignty. But it is not clear what exactly they meant. A lot of Naga organisations here simply don’t understand what the PM was trying to do and what the way forward is,” Gandhi said referring to the ‘Framework Agreement’ signed between Centre and rebel group NSCN-IM in 2015.

Clearly, he continued, it is a problem that will require conversation, listening to each other and working in implementing a solution but that is lacking as far as the PM is concerned.

 Congress leader Rahul Gandhi addresses supporters during the 'Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra', in Kohima, Nagaland on Jan 16
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Clearly, he continued, it is a problem that will require conversation, listening to each other and working in implementing a solution but that is lacking as far as the PM is concerned.

“Why the PM has not acted. I am the wrong person to ask that question because I don’t know his mind and approach. But I do get a sense that the PM promises things without thinking them through…and people are disturbed that the PM’s credibility is on the line,” he added.

BY Prasanta Mazumdar

 Congress leader Rahul Gandhi addresses supporters during the 'Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra', in Kohima, Nagaland on Jan 16
Out and out political event? Congress slams BJP over Ram temple consecration ceremony

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