INDIAN TIMES

Advani, Joshi yet to get invites for Ayodhya event

NEW DELHI/ LUCKNOW: L K Advani, who led the “rathyatra” for the construction of Ram Mandir and Murli Manohar Joshi who served as BJP chief during the intense phase of the temple campaign, are yet to recieve invitations for the grand function at Ayodhya on August 5.
Sources close to Advani said with just four days to go for the function, the former deputy PM, who catapulted his party’s fortunes with the Ram rathyatra, had not got any invitation from any quarters till Saturday.
VHP or the trust set up by the Supreme Court to supervise the construction of Ram Mandir have not spelt out whether the two saffron stalwarts are among the invitees.
Although the campaign for the construction of Ram Mandir at Babri Masjid was conceptualised by RSS and VHP, it was Advani who became the public face of the moblisation by embarking on his “Somnath to Ayodhya” rathyatra in support of the temple “reconstruction”.
He, along with Joshi, also figure among the accused in the Babri demolition case. In fact, Advani sat through his final deposition on the case last week, through a video conferencing facility, and is awaiting a verdict by the special CBI court which, as per SC’s orders, has to come by August 30.
The formal invitations over phone are being coordinated by Champat Rai, general secretary of the Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust.
While sources remain tight-lipped on the list of invitees, some speculated that in light of the pandemic, the age of Advani and Joshi will have to be taken into consideration in deciding whether they should be invited. PM Narendra Modi will be attending the programme.
The final guest list is being kept small because of Corona-related curbs and there were indications that efforts were being made to connect the two leaders and other veterans of the saffron family with the bhoomi pujan ceremony through video conferencing.

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