Two days before the grand Ram temple ceremony at Ayodhya, the invite with a saffron theme has been unveiled. The invite mentions Prime Minister Narendra Modi and names three more, indicating a vastly trimmed guest list in the time of COVID-19.
Five people will be on the stage – PM Modi, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat, Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Mahant Nritya Gopaldas.
Apart from these names, the invite also has an image of the idol of “Ram Lalla” or infant Lord Ram. Invites have been sent to some 150 people for the elaborate “Bhoomi Pujan” organized on Wednesday in the middle of the nation’s coronavirus fight.
PM Modi is expected to establish a 40 kg silver brick for the symbolic start of the construction of a Ram Temple that has been central to the BJP’s core agenda and election promises for decades.
The Ram Temple will be built after years of dispute over the 2.77 acre site where the 16th century Babri mosque stood before it was razed by Hindu activists who believed it was built on the ruins of an ancient temple marking the birthplace of Lord Ram.
In November, the Supreme Court said the site would be handed over for the building of a temple and an alternative five-acre site would be given to Muslims.
The mega function organized by Yogi Adityanath will miss some of the key faces of the Ram temple campaign in the BJP – LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharti.
Mr Advani and Mr Joshi, both invited on the phone, will reportedly join the event virtually to observe coronavirus precautions. Uma Bharti said she would, for the safety of the PM and other guests, stay away from the event and visit the site after everyone was gone.
Iqbal Ansari, one of the Muslim litigants, has also been invited.