Bharatiya Janata Party patriarch LK Advani and senior leader Murli Manohar Joshi will attend the bhoomi pujan (ground-breaking ceremony) for the Ram Temple at Ayodhya on August 5 through video conference, said people familiar with the developments.
The two senior leaders, who were the face of the Ram Janmabhoomi movement, will be invited for the ceremony by Vishva Hindu Parishad functionary and the general secretary of the Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust, Champat Rai, said a functionary aware of the details.
The functionary, however, did not clarify when the invitations will be sent out.
The ground-breaking ceremony that marks the beginning of the construction of the Ram temple at Ayodhya is likely to be attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat and a host of senior RSS and BJP leaders, including former minister Uma Bharti.
There has been much speculation about the absence of Advani and Joshi who are considered as the architects of the Ram Janmabhoomi movement that led to the demolition of the Babri Masjid in 1992.
A senior BJP functionary not wishing to be quoted said both the leaders are held in reverence, but owing to their advanced age and the ongoing pandemic, it has been “found advisable” to have them join the ceremony online.
“Last month, union home minister Amit Shah and party general secretary Bhupinder Yadav had called on Advani ji; it was a routine meeting, as our senior leaders call on him frequently,” said the functionary quoted above.
After the BJP came to power at the centre in 2014, both Advani and Joshi, along with Yashwant Sinha – who has now quit the party, were made part of a Margdarshak Mandal, which was intended to guide the party.
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