“On August 5, 2020, bhumi pujan of Ram temple is being held. Let Lord Ram shower his blessing so that this function becomes a celebration of national unity, fraternity and cultural affinity,” Vadra said in a statement on Tuesday, marking the most explicit comment on Lord Ram and the Ayodhya temple by Congress and a Gandhi family member in quite a long time.
“Lord Ram has always been a binding thread for humanity and human good in India’s ethos from time immemorial. Lord Ram symbolises sacrifice, as also support. Ram is unity, Ram is restraint, Ram is an ally. Ram belongs to all. Lord Rama wants welfare and harmony of all. That is why he is ‘maryada purushotam’ (man of dignity),” Vadra added in the statement, which clearly carried the imprint of deft touch and word-play of vintage Congress leaders, working to elevate Lord Ram to a pedestal much higher than the BJP‘s political plank. AICC spokesperson Randeep Surjewala read out Vadra’s statement.
Congress made a point by stressing on Gandhi’s favourite hymn, “Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram”, to recall how Ali Shah had said, “Rab is the same Ram” and advertised Ram’s reach across the social spectrum: “Ram belongs to Sabari, Sugriva too. Ram belongs to Valmiki and also to Bhasa.” She also said: “From north to south, from east to west, Ramkatha has manifested itself in immeasurable forms. As the Lord has infinite incarnations, Ramkatha has infinite forms – Ramayana written by Kambar to Ezhuthachan to Tulsidas to Kabir and Ravidas.”
The Congress seems to have fielded Vadra to issue the statement as it would represent views of both the party and the Gandhi family and because she is Congress incharge of poll-bound UP. The Congress leadership has, through decades of the Ayodhya dispute, consistently maintained that it would go by the final court ruling and passed a resolution promptly on the day the Supreme Court ruled in favour of the temple, formally hailing the court order and supporting “construction of a grand Ram temple at Ayodhya.”
Many important events related to the Ayodhya dispute took place when Congress governments administered the country: The idol was placed in the Babri Masjid during the tenure of the first PM Nehru’s government; the disputed site was opened for shilanyas after the Rajiv Gandhi regime did not move the high court against a local court order; the mosque was demolished during Narasimha Rao’s tenure. Incidentally, none of the Congress leaders have been invited to Wednesday’s ceremony.