Mohan Bhagwat Among 4 RSS Seniors to Attend Jan 22 Ram Mandir Event, Volunteers Asked to Delay Visit
Four top office-bearers of the RSS, including Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat, will attend the consecration ceremony of the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya on January 22, News18 has learnt.
Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh general secretary Dattatreya Hosabale, senior functionary and former general secretary Suresh ‘Bhaiyyaji’ Joshi and another senior functionary, Krishna Gopal, are also slated to attend the mega event.
A senior RSS functionary said the organisation has asked all its volunteers and affiliates to visit Lord Ram later, but not on the day of consecration.
The Sangh Parivar has invited around 2,000 famous personalities, including celebrities from the spheres of sports, film, theatre and literature, industrialists, businessmen, entrepreneurs and so on. Around 4,000 seers and saints from all disciplines and sects of Hinduism, including the old Nava Sampradaya (nine communities) and new traditions, will attend the programme.
The list of invitees has now become a crucial element as the Congress, in its official statement, called the ceremony a “political project” of the BJP and RSS.
The Sangh’s functionaries, however, said only four senior office-bearers will attend the ceremony as they are trying to maintain security protocol. The senior functionaries that News18 spoke with further said the senior ministers of the Union government and BJP leaders have also been asked to refrain from visiting Ayodhya during the ceremony.
The seers or their representatives from traditions like Dravidian Maths of Tamil Nadu and other parts, Vaishnavites, Jain monks, Swaminarayan temple, Naga Sadhus, ISKON, Art of Living Foundation and others will join the ceremony, the senior functionary said. Several senior and noted members from the tribal community have also been invited, he added.
The chief ministers of the states, the unit heads of the BJP and RSS state units and senior members of central and state cabinets have been asked to refrain from coming to Ayodhya. Several senior ministers of the central cabinets will also not attend the event. To maintain the sanctity of the programme and to comply with the security protocol, the Sangh has asked all its state units and other inspired organisations to visit the temple later.
“We have only invited the national heads of 36 affiliated or inspired organisations to join the ceremony, while rest were requested to visit later. The presidents or chiefs of all political parties were invited. Sonia Gandhi, as the UPA chief, Mallikarjun Kharge as Congress high command and Adhir Choudhury as the leader of Congress Parliamentary party were invited. Likewise, the presidents of all national and regional parties were invited for the ceremony,” said another senior functionary of the RSS.
Relatives of Dalit icons BR Ambedkar, Jagjivan Ram, Kanshi Ram and other “prominent national icons” belonging to the Scheduled Castes are among those invited for the January 22 consecration ceremony, according to sources. Family members of ‘Kar Sevaks’, who died during the Ram Janmabhoomi movement, have also been invited for the event.
Three retired chief justices of the Supreme Court, retired chiefs of all three services — army, navy and air force, former ambassadors, top bureaucrats including senior IAS, IPS officers holding “key positions” and “brothers and sisters of personalities honoured with the Nobel prize” are on the list invitees, added the sources.
Responding to the statements issued by the Shankaracharyas about skipping the ceremony, the senior functionary said: “Shankaracharyas have different traditions. They have certain rules and they abide by that. We have everybody’s support.”