Fall of Hindutva Party led by Shri Bala Sahab Thackeray: VHP slams Uddhav Thackeray's Ayodhya e-bhoomi pujan remark
The working president of Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) advocate Alok Kumar on Monday slammed Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray over his statement of video-conferencing of 'bhoomi pujan' for the Ram temple construction in Ayodhya. Kumar said that Thackeray's remark shows his blind opposition calling it a "fall of what once was a Hindutva Party led by the legendary Shri Bala Sahab Thackeray".
In an official statement, the VHP working president said, "We are concerned with the statement of Uddhav Thackeray suggesting that the Bhumi Pujan should be performed by video-conferencing. The statement of Uddhav Thackeray only shows his blind opposition and we do mourn such a fall of what once was a Hindutva Party led by the legendary Shri Bala Sahab Thackeray."
Thackeray had on July 26 suggested the ground-breaking ceremony for the Ram temple construction can be conducted through video-conference in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Thackeray, who is also president of the Shiv Sena, said he can go to Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh for the ceremony, but asked if lakhs of "Ram bhakts" can be stopped from going there.
"An e-bhoomi pujan can be done. The ground-breaking ceremony can be held through video-conference. This is an event of joy, and lakhs of people would be interested in attending the ceremony. Will we allow the spread of coronavirus?" Thackeray had said in an interview published in the Shiv Sena mouthpiece 'Saamana'. He said the Ram temple issue has a background of struggle.
"This is not an ordinary temple. Today, we are fighting the coronavirus pandemic and religious gatherings are prohibited. I can go to Ayodhya for the ceremony, but what about lakhs of Ram bhakts. Will you stop them? You can do e-bhoomi pujan through video-conference," he had added.
Kumar said that the bhoomi pujan is "an essential and sacred ritual". "Before starting any construction work we worship the Mother Earth, seek Her permission to dig and construct structures and obtain Her blessings for the mission. Obviously, this cannot be done by e-conference. The Country is going through its normal activities with all precautions relating to COVID-19."
He added, "The Supreme Court permitted the symbolic taking out of Shri Jagannath Rath Yatra. The rituals of Shri Amarnath Yatra have all been performed though the yatra is not permitted this year. The VHP has always made it clear that the Bhumi Pujan will be done by restricting participation to 200 persons and complying with all health and security advisories. In this situation, the concern about public health expressed by Thackeray are only false pretensions."
On July 26, Thackeray recalled that the last time when he had gone to Ayodhya, he was stopped from performing 'aarti' at the Saryu river there since the COVID-19 pandemic spread had just started. "Before that, I had seen huge crowds on the river banks. Ram Mandir is a matter of faith. How can you stop people from going there?" he had asked. Thackeray visited Ayodhya in March to commemorate 100 days in office.