The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) on Tuesday said that veteran Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader L.K. Advani, who spearheaded the Ram Janmabhoomi movement, would be attending the consecration ceremony of the Ram temple in Ayodhya on January 22.
Alok Kumar, the VHP’s working president, while speaking to The Hindu, said that Mr. Advani may not attend the full event, considering his old age, but he would surely be attending.
“When I met him at his residence to invite him for the Ram temple’s pran pratistha, the conversation started with logistics. He just asked how he would be taken inside and how he would travel. Not coming to Ayodhya was not a point in his mind at all,” Mr. Kumar said. He added that all arrangements were being made for the nonagenarian’s comfort.
Speaking about Murli Manohar Joshi, another BJP veteran who was at the forefront in the Ram temple movement, Mr. Kumar said that final confirmation from him was yet to be received but that Mr. Joshi was positive about attending the ceremony.
There was an uncertainty over Mr. Advani and Mr. Joshi’s presence at the event after Champat Rai, a senior VHP leader and general secretary of the Ram temple trust, said the two leaders had been asked to skip the event considering their age and health condition.
Mr. Kumar commented on Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav’s response. “Sometime back, I heard Akhilesh-ji saying that he would go to Ayodhya if he received an invitation for the ceremony. We have sent him an invitation. But now, I heard him saying he will go to Ayodhya if Lord Ram calls him. So, now, I am eagerly waiting to know if Ram-ji calls the SP president or not,” Mr. Kumar said, adding that if Mr. Yadav did not attend the event, it would be a clear message that Lord Ram had not invited him.