19 Dec 2023

LK Advani, MM Joshi, earlier advised against attending Ram Mandir consecration ceremony, now receive invitations but will they attend

Lal Krishna Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi, veteran leaders of the BJP who played pivotal roles in the Ram Temple agitation during the early 1990s, have officially been invited to participate in the consecration ceremony of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya on January 22, 2024. The invitations were presented to them by Vinod Bansal, the National Spokesperson of Vishwa Hindu Parishad.

"A warm invitation has been extended"

Alok Kumar, the International Working President of Vishva Hindu Parishad, shared, "A warm invitation has been extended to the leaders of the Ram Temple movement, Shri Lal Krishna Advani and Dr. Murli Manohar Joshi, to be part of the consecration ceremony in Ayodhya. During our discussions about the Ram Temple movement, both dignitaries expressed their unwavering commitment to making every possible effort to attend." The two veteran leaders had spearheaded the Ram temple movement in Ayodhya.

Earlier, the Ram Mandir Trust cited their advanced age and health conditions as significant factors, stating that the chances of both leaders participating in the event are minimal. Champat Rai, the general secretary of the Ram Mandir Trust, informed the media that given their status as elders, the leaders have been advised not to attend the function, a suggestion they have accepted.

Preparations are in full swing

Rai emphasized that preparations for the consecration ceremony on January 22 are in full swing, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi scheduled to participate. He noted that the arrangements would be finalized by January 15, and the 'Pran Pratishtha' puja would commence on January 16, continuing until January 22.

Regarding the guest list, Champat Rai disclosed that due to age and health reasons, Advani and Joshi might not be present at the ceremony. He mentioned, "Advani ji's presence is desirable, but we will advise him not to attend. I have directly communicated with Dr. Joshi, urging him not to come, despite his insistence. I repeatedly emphasized his age, cold weather, and recent knee replacement."

LK Advani is currently 96 years old, while Murli Manohar Joshi will celebrate his 90th birthday next month. Nevertheless, Rai mentioned that a three-member team has been formed to invite former Prime Minister Deve Gowda to the function.

Highlighting the notable participants, Rai stated, "Shankaracharya and 150 sages and saints from six darshan traditions will participate. Additionally, about 4,000 saints and 2,200 other guests have been invited."

Invitations have been extended to significant temples like Kashi Vishwanath and Vaishno Devi, as well as heads of religious and constitutional institutions. Prominent personalities such as the Dalai Lama, Mata Amritanandamai, Rajnikanth, Amitabh Bachchan, Madhuri Dixit, Arun Govil, Madhur Bhandarkar, Mukesh Ambani, Anil Ambani, Vasudev Kamat, ISRO director Nilesh Desai, and others have also been invited.

Mandal Puja will last 48 days

Following the consecration ceremony, a 'Mandal Puja' lasting 48 days will commence on January 24, with the temple opening for devotees on January 23. Rai assured that comprehensive arrangements have been made at multiple locations in Ayodhya for guest accommodations, with 600 rooms prepared in monasteries, temples, and local households.

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