Shiv Sena (UBT) president Uddhav Thackeray stated on Sunday that a “Godhra-like” catastrophe might occur on the “return journey” of the enormous crowds anticipated to assemble in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh, for the opening of the Ram Temple.
On February 27, 2002, ‘Karsevaks’ (Sangh Parivar term for volunteers who participated in the Ram temple movement) returning from Ayodhya on board the Sabarmati Express were attacked and their train coach set ablaze at Godhra station in Gujarat, resulting in several deaths and triggering large-scale riots across the state.
“It is possible that the government will invite a large number of people to the Ram Temple inauguration in buses and trucks, and on their way back, an incident similar to that in Godhra may occur,” Thackeray stated in Jalgaon, around 400 kilometers away.
The Ram Temple is expected to be dedicated in January 2024, just months before the Lok Sabha elections.
Thackeray also chastised the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) for lacking iconography and instead copying legends such as Sardar Patel and Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose.
He claimed that they (BJP-RSS) were now attempting to take his father Bal Thackeray’s legacy.
The BJP and RSS have no successes of their own, and it is not the size of Sardar Patel’s statue (the Statue of Unity in Gujarat’s Kevadia, which at 182 meters is the largest such edifice in the world) but his achievements that matter.
These individuals (from the BJP and RSS) are not even close to matching Sardar Patel’s magnificence, according to the Shiv Sena (UBT) leader.
The BJP has frequently chastised Thackeray for abandoning Bal Thackeray’s values in order to become chief minister after the 2019 Assembly elections by forming a coalition with the Congress and the NCP.
The attacks have got more strident after the Shiv Sena split in June last year and both factions began calling themselves the true inheritors of the party founder’s legacy.
The BJP and Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena claim they are true adherents of Bal Thackeray’s Hindutva.
Eknath Shinde, earlier this year had opined that PM Narendra Modi had fulfilled Balasaheb Thackeray’s dream to build a grand temple in Ayodhya. The temple will be open for visitation by pilgrims on January 25, 2024. The ‘pran pratishtha’ ritual at Ayodhya Ram Mandir will take place between January 15 and 24, 2024. According to Nripendra Mishra, head of the Ram Mandir Construction Committee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will attend the consecration ceremony on the last day of the event. “Devotees will be able to enter the Ram temple after the pran pratishtha.” “From January 25, 2024, ordinary devotees will be able to visit the temple,” Mishra stated.
The preparations for the grand opening extend beyond Ayodhya. According to reports, numerous activities are being planned by Indian embassies throughout the world. The ground level of the three-story temple is nearing completion and will be ready for Diwali.
The main door of the sanctum sanctorum will be coated in gold, with gold sculptures on it. The temple’s 161-foot-tall tower will also be gold-plated. Aside from the temple grounds, the Shree Ram Janmabhoomi pilgrimage zone spans 70 acres.
At the Ayodhya Ram Mandir, Lord Ram will be worshiped in his kid form known as Ram Lalla.
The Prime Minister had previously stated that he would not travel to Ayodhya until the temple’s foundation was laid. He kept his pledge and returned to Ayodhya after 20 years on August 5, 2021, when the temple’s foundation was set.
Early 2023, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath emphasized the significance of the installation of the Ram Lalla idol, which represents Lord Ram in his five-year-old form and has been awaited for over 500 years. He anticipated that this achievement would increase Ayodhya’s worldwide significance. Adityanath recognized the deep link Ayodhya has in the hearts of millions, saying that the temple’s building represents their unshakable dedication and faith.