Union Minister Narayan Rane on Saturday said the Shankaracharyas should bless the Ram Temple instead of criticising some aspects and accused them of looking at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP through a “political prism”.
Speaking to reporters in Maharashtra’s Palghar, he also said the Shankaracharyas must spell out their own contribution to Hinduism.
“No one could do it until now. Modi, the BJP took it up and a temple is being built. Should they bless the temple or criticise it? It means Shankaracharyas look at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP through a political prism. This temple is not built on politics but on religion. Ram is our God,” Mr Rane said.
“Shankaracharyas should tell what is their contribution to the Hindu religion,” he added.
Asked about Shiv Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray stating that President Droupadi Murmu must inaugurate the Ram Temple, Rane said he would not comment on someone “who has no job and sits at home.” Rane claimed Thackeray’s faction would take a further hit as “eight out of 16 MLAs with him are approaching us (BJP-led ruling alliance) and would join soon”.
The Shiv Sena split in June 2022 after a majority of MLAs sided with Eknath Shinde, who went on to become chief minister with the support of the BJP.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra Congress spokesperson Atul Londhe accused Mr Rane of insulting the Hindu religion and its spiritual heads.
Mr Rane doesn’t know enough about Hinduism, he said, and sought the BJP’s response on the minister’s remarks.
On Friday, VHP working president Alok Kumar said two of the four Shankaracharyas have “openly welcomed” the upcoming consecration ceremony, but none of them would attend the grand event to be held in Ayodhya on January 22.
They will visit the Ram temple later “as per their convenience”, he told PTI.
The opposition parties have been targeting the BJP over reports of respective Shankaracharyas of Shri Shringeri Sharda Peeth Karnataka, Dwarka Sharda Peeth in Gujarat, Jyotir Peeth in Uttarakhand and Govardhan Peeth in Odisha deciding not to attend the consecration ceremony.
Jyotirpeeth Sankaracharya Swami Avimukteshwaranand Saraswati had reportedly said it would not be right to perform a consecration ceremony at this stage as the construction is yet to be completed.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)