New Delhi: The BJP has reacted sharply to Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Uddhav Thackeray’s remarks that a “Godhra-like” incident may take place after the inauguration of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya next January.
In Maharashtra’s Jalgaon Sunday, the former state chief minister commented that the central government would invite a large number of people to the opening, who would travel to Ayodhya in buses and trucks. “On their return journey, an incident similar to that in Godhra may occur,” he added.
VIDEO | “It is a possibility that the government could invite a large number of people for the Ram Temple inauguration in buses and trucks, and on their return journey, an incident similar to that in Godhra may occur,” said Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Uddhav Thackeray earlier.
— Press Trust of India (@PTI_News) September 11, 2023
The BJP slammed his remarks as baseless, and wondered if Thackeray wanted clashes among people. Maharashtra minister and BJP leader Girish Mahajan said Thackeray was creating a sense of fear among people. “The police should pay attention to this,” Mahajan said.
On 27 February, 2002 in Gujarat’s Godhra, 58 people, including women and children were burnt to death when a Sabarmati Express coach was set ablaze. Most of them were “karsevaks” – the Sangh Parivar’s term for volunteers who took part in the Ram Temple movement – who were returning from Ayodhya.
The incident triggered horrific riots in Gujarat when Narendra Modi was the chief minister. The riots killed 1,044 people though unofficial estimates peg the death toll to be much higher.
Meanwhile on Monday, senior BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad reminded Uddhav Thackeray that his father Balasaheb had “blessed” the Ram Temple movement. He said the Opposition’s INDIA alliance – of which Shiv Sena (UBT) is a constituent – could go to any length for votes. “This comment is shameless, inauspicious… I want Lord Ram to give him wisdom,” Prasad said.
#WATCH | On Shiv Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray’s remarks on Ram Mandir, BJP MP Ravi Shankar Prasad says, “…All I would like to say is that this entire alliance, that is against PM Modi, can go to any limit for votes…I would like to pray to Lord Ram to give them some… https://t.co/Zme5rTQMI6 pic.twitter.com/54bCbNWkhm
— ANI (@ANI) September 11, 2023
Union minister Anurag Thakur said people had forgotten their party ideology for the greed of power. “I don’t know what Balasaheb would have thought today and what Uddhavji is doing today for the greed of power,” he said.
The BJP has repeatedly targeted Thackeray, a former partner, for forsaking party ideals in order to become chief minister in 2019 with the help of the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party.
The attacks have gotten more shrill after the Shiv Sena split last June, which toppled Thackray’s government and brought the rebel faction – led by Eknath Shinde – to power along with the BJP.
The BJP and the Shinde Sena claim they are the true followers of Bal Thackeray’s Hindutva.
Work on the Ram Temple – on land claimed by both Hindus and Muslims – began soon after the Supreme Court in November 2019 ruled in favour of Hindus. It is most likely to be inaugurated in January next year, just months before the general elections in which Narendra Modi is seeking a third term.
Also read: 1st meet of INDIA bloc coordination committee in Delhi on September 13