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The South Asian Insider

Ram Temple Consecration: Who Is In, Who is Out, Who Will Skip the Grand Event?

 (News Agency)-Several celebrities from film and television, industrialists, political leaders, sportspersons as well as seers, scholars, and prominent personalities from different fields have been invited for the consecration ceremony of the Ram temple in Ayodhya on January 22. While Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to deliver a speech at the grand event, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath is overseeing the preparations for the long-awaited inauguration.
According to Ram Temple Trust general secretary Champat Rai, at least 4,000 saints and 2,200 other guests have been invited to the ceremony, including Tibetan spiritual head Dalai Lama, heads of major temples like Kashi Vishwanath, Vaishno Devi and representatives of religious and constitutional institutions.
The guest list will also comprise owners of large media houses and senior journalists, one representative each from 50 foreign countries, families of kar sevaks who died in the Ram Mandir movement. Invitations will also be going to painter Vasudev Kamat, ISRO director Nilesh Desai among others.The Congress, however, has not divulged its stand on whether top party leaders will be attending the consecration ceremony, even as it said it was thankful for the invitations. Congress general secretary KC Venugopal said: “You will know about the party’s stand. You will know on January 22 about the participation. They have invited us, we are very much thankful to them for inviting us, let us (see).”
NCP president Sharad Pawar said he has not been invited to the inauguration of the Ram temple in Ayodhya and targeted the BJP saying it was difficult to understand if the party was using the issue for political or commercial purposes.“Don’t know if it (BJP) is using the issue for political or commercial purposes. We are happy that the temple is coming up for which many have contributed,” Pawar said.
While the CPI(M) has been invited, its general secretary Sitaram Yechury declined it while underlining the belief that religion is a personal choice. “Our policy is to respect religious beliefs and the right of each individual to pursue their belief. Religion is a personal choice not to be converted into an instrument for political gain. Comrade Sitaram Yechury will not attend the ceremony despite receiving an invitation to do so,” the CPI (Marxist) said in a post on X.
In a statement, the politburo of the Left party said Yechury received an invitation to attend the inauguration ceremony. “The CPI(M) policy has been to respect religious beliefs and safeguard the right of every individual to pursue their belief. It believes that religion is a personal choice not to be converted into an instrument for political gain. Therefore, we will not be attending the ceremony,” the party said.It added that it is “most unfortunate” that the BJP and the RSS have converted a religious ceremony into a state-sponsored event directly involving the prime minister, Uttar Pradesh CM and other government functionaries.
Congress MP Shashi Tharoor said he would love to visit the Ram temple in his own private time but had not received an invitation to attend the consecration ceremony. “Was interrogated by the waiting press, wanting to know if I would be going to Ayodhya. I told them I hadn’t been invited but I saw religion as a personal attribute and not one for political (mis)use,” he said in a post on X.
After the Left parties declined an invitation to attend the Ram temple inauguration, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee is also likely to give it a miss and may not send a TMC representative to the ceremony. Sources said she is wary of being associated with the BJP’s political narrative. But, the TMC has yet to officially announce its decision.
Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Sanjay Raut also said there was no need for an invitation to party chief Uddhav Thackeray to visit Ayodhya for the consecration ceremony. He did not, however, clarify whether the Thackerays had received an invite.“There is no need for Uddhav Thackeray to be invited to Ayodhya. We are in Ayodhya before you (the BJP),” Raut said when asked if Thackeray was invited.