BJP had no role in Ram Janmabhoomi movement, says Uddhav’s Sena faction

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Shiv Sena (UBT) leader and MP Sanjay Raut. File.

Shiv Sena (UBT) leader and MP Sanjay Raut. File.
| Photo Credit: PTI

A war of words has erupted between the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena (UBT) and the ruling BJP over the upcoming Ram Mandir inauguration, after Mr. Thackeray was not invited to the event slated for January 22 next year.

Sena (UBT) spokesperson Sanjay Raut on Wednesday questioned the BJP’s “actual” contribution to the Ram Janmabhoomi movement and the demolition of the Babri mosque in Ayodhya in December 1992, while accusing it of having forgotten the Shiv Sena’s and Bal Thackeray’s contribution.

“The BJP has had no role to play in any of the historic struggles that have shaped either India or Maharashtra, be it the freedom struggle, the ‘Samyukt Maharashtra’ movement or the Ayodhya-Ram Janmabhoomi agitation,” said Mr. Raut.

Launching a broadside at the BJP, Mr. Raut said the BJP itself claimed that there was “no India before 2014 [when PM Modi came to power]”.

“So, it must be said that the BJP has come into existence only after 2014… The entire country has contributed to the Ram Janmabhoomi movement. But, there are some people [BJP and RSS] who don’t the history of the country before 2014. What do they know of Ayodhya, the Ram Mandir movement, the Shiv Sena and Bal Thackeray’s contributions there?” said the Rajya Sabha MP.

Accusing the BJP and the RSS of shirking from all major struggles, Mr. Raut claimed that all Shiv Sena MPs had been present in Ayodhya at the time of the Babri mosque demolition.

“Our MPs, including Moreshwar Save, Satish Pradhan, Manohar Joshi, were present at Ayodhya and cases were lodged against them later. After the demolition of the mosque, even senior BJP leader Sunder Singh Bhandari had stated that the Babri demolition had been carried out by the Shiv Sainiks. See the later statements of Lal Krishna Advani, who too, said the demolition was not done by BJP workers,” claimed Mr. Raut.

On Tuesday, Mr. Raut minced no words while responding to State Rural Development Minister Girish Mahajan’s remark that Mr. Uddhav Thackeray was not invited to the temple inauguration as he was an “ordinary MLC”. Mr. Raut asked Mr. Mahajan to first disclose his own contribution to the Ram Janmabhoomi movement.

Mr. Mahajan had said that the government is only inviting “VVIPs” for the inauguration. “Uddhav Thackeray played no role in kar seva, or even in the process of building the temple. It seems the government has, therefore, not invited him. He should not feel bad about it. I had done kar seva several times and was also lodged in jail whereas Uddhav was only sitting at home… he has not even visited Ayodhya,” Mr. Mahajan had said.

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