Ram Mandir invite row: Kharge says the faithful can visit Ayodhya any day

New Delhi: Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge on Friday said anyone having faith in Lord Ram can visit the Ayodhya temple any day and added the BJP was attacking his party over the decision to decline the invite to the January 22 consecration ceremony as part of “a conspiracy”.

The Congress has never hurt any religion or guru, he said, adding it will not fall for the BJP’s diversionary tactic and will continue to raise people’s issues such as inflation and unemployment.

Kharge and top Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury have “respectfully declined” the invitation to attend the Ram temple consecration ceremony on January 22, accusing the BJP and the RSS of making it a “political project” for electoral gain.

The BJP has criticised the decision and dubbed the Congress “anti-Lord Ram”.

To a question on the BJP’s attack, Kharge told reporters here, “As far as attending the function, those who have faith (aastha) can go tomorrow or the day after. I have made it clear on January 6 itself. It is not correct to attack us and this is a conspiracy of the BJP.”

He also said this is the reason why the BJP has been raising the issue again and again.

“We do not want to hurt anyone, any religion, any guru. This is not our issue. Our only issue is what (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi ji has done for the people on unemployment, inflation, border issues and on the Chinese (intrusions) and what is their foreign policy.

“The poor who have been destroyed and are harassed…we are concerned about them and are asking him about them rather than this,” the Congress president said.

In a post on X, Kharge said the Congress will not fall for the BJP’s diversionary tactic and will not stop raising public issues.

“Our only issues in 2024 are – What work has the Modi government done for the unemployed youth? What steps should be taken regarding inflation? What did you (govt) say about Chinese infiltration on the border? We are concerned about Dalits, tribals, backward classes and poor sections of society, which the BJP is not,” he posted.

The BJP earlier shared a post on X alleging, “Congress’ tradition is of opposing Lord Shri Ram.”

It also shared a 35-second video and a poster which read “Ram Virodhi Congress”.

The 35-second video carries the statement of Rahul Gandhi where he stated that “if you don’t believe in past life how can you believe in Ram.”

The BJP also said in the video that the Congress termed the Ram Setu imaginary, rejected the very existence of Lord Ram, raised questions on the Supreme Court verdict on the Ram temple and turned down the invitation to the consecration ceremony.