Shiv Sena invites Rahul to visit Ayodhya along with UddhavThackeray

Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut has extended an invite to Rahul Gandhi to travel to Ayodhya along with Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on completition of 100 days in power in the state, stated news agency ANI.

Raut said Uddhav will go to Ayodhya to seek Lord Ram’s blessings and the alliance leaders should also come. Shiv Sena is at the helm of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) coalition government in the state in alliance with the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Congress. The government will complete 100-days on March 6, 2020.

According to the agency, Raut specifically mentioned Rahul Gandhi and said, the Congress leader “visits several temples” and should “also come along”.

Rahul Gandhi was the first member from the Gandhi family to visit Hanuman Garhi in Ayodhya in September 2016 after the demolition of the Babri Masjid in 1992. Rahul was the party vice-president then. Former prime minister and Rahul’s father Rajiv Gandhi had visited Ayodhya in 1990.

Ever since Rahul has visited several famous Hindu temples while battling accusations that temple visits were mere optics in line with Congress “soft Hindutva” policy to counter the BJP’s rise and checkmate Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Some of the famous temples visited by Rahul Gandhi include Kashi Vishwanath in Varanasi, Tirumala in Andhra Pradesh, Kamakhya in Assam, Badrinath and Kedarnath in Uttarakhand, Kheer Bhawani in Kashmir, Guru Gaddi in Chhattisgarh, Khatu Shyamji temple in Rajasthan, Mahakaleshwar and Omkareshwar temples in Madhya Pradesh,

Uddhav Thackeray took oath as the chief minister of Maharashtra on 28th November after falling out with former ally of more than 30 years, the BJP, over sharing of power in the state and by forging an alliance with the Congress and the NCP, despite concerns over their ideological differences marring the functioning of the government in future.

Uddhav had recently visited Ayodhya in June 2019 with his son Aditya Thackeray and offerred prayers at the temporary Ram temple. His party has been one of the most vocal advocates for construction of a Ram Temple at the Hindu god’s birthplace in Ayodhya. Uddhav’s planned visit in November had to be cancelled due to security concerns.

The Supreme Court has recently cleared the path for the temple’s construction at the site where Babri Masjid, allegedly built by Mughal emperor Babar, once stood. Hindus claim that Babbar had destroyed a temple at the birthplace of Ram to erect the Mosque and that it had been abandoned by Muslims later. The long-standing dispute over the site was finally resolved legally by the Supreme Court that relied on the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) findings of the remains of a Hindu temple under the disputed site and handed it over to the government for building of a grand Ram Temple. It also allocated a separate piece of land for construction of a mosque in Ayodhya.

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