BJP leaders who were in the front seat of the Ayodhya movement for three decades have been forced to take a back seat just before reaching the destination due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Lal Krishna Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Kalyan Singh and Uma Bharti, the BJP leaders who have been the faces of movement for the construction of a Ram Mandir at Ram Janmabhoomi Ayodhya, have all decided to refrain from attending the groundbreaking ceremony for the temple on Wednesday.
Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust has requested guests above the age of 90 to not make a physical appearance at the ceremony. “There are certain practical difficulties in the arrival of some guests due to coronavirus pandemic. The arrival of people who are aged above 90 years is not appropriate under present circumstances,” the trust’s official Twitter handle said on Monday.
Lal Krishna Advani, who led the Ram Rath Yatra to galvanise public sentiments for the construction of Ayodhya Ram temple in 1990, will not attend the event as he is 92 years old. Attending the ceremony physically could expose him to the Covid-19 virus. Ram temple had become a core part of BJP’s manifesto under LK Advani’s party presidentship.
Murli Manohar Joshi, 86, served as BJP president between 1991 and 1993. Joshi, along with Uma Bharti and Kalyan Singh, was one of the key faces of the Ayodhya movement at the time. While Murli Manohar Joshi and Kalyan Singh, 88, have declined to attend the event due to age, Uma Bharti has said that she is worried about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s health.
In a series of tweets, Uma Bharti said she felt worried about attending the ceremony after she heard the news of Home Minister Amit Shah testing positive for the novel coronavirus.
“When I heard about Amit Shah and other BJP leaders testing positive for coronavirus, I was worried about those attending the Ayodhya event, especially PM Modi,” Uma Bharti tweeted.
Home Minister Amit Shah is currently seeking treatment for Covid-19 at a private hospital in Gurugram.
The senior BJP leader said she has taken the decision to avoid the event to protect the Prime Minister and the others who will be present there. She said during the Bhoomi Pujan she would be at another spot on the banks of the river Saryu.
“I will leave Bhopal this evening and until I reach Ayodhya tomorrow evening, I may be exposed to the infection. In this situation, I will stay away from the place where PM Modi and others will be present. I will reach there only after everyone has left the spot,” she added in another tweet.
LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi will join the programme via video conferencing.