Priyanka Gandhi on Lord Ram

News Desk: Ahead of the ‘bhoomi poojan’ for the Ram temple on Wednesday, Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Tuesday expressed the hope the groundbreaking ceremony in Ayodhya will be a celebration of national unity, brotherhood and cultural harmony.

“Lord Ram belongs to everybody. Lord Ram wants everybody’s welfare. That is why he is called ‘Maryada Purshottam’,” the Congress general secretary said in a statement.

“The groundbreaking ceremony of Ram Mandir in Ayodhya has been scheduled for August 5. Hope this event becomes an occasion of national unity, brotherhood and cultural harmony in accordance with the message of Lord Ram and with his blessings and that of Mother Sita,” she said.

Gandhi’s remarks are in line with the party’s renewed stand on the issue after the Supreme Court gave its verdict on the Ram temple last November.

At its meeting on November 9 last year, the Congress Working Committee (CWC), the party’s highest decision-making body, unanimously passed a resolution on the issue, saying it respects the verdict. It had also appealed to everyone to maintain peace and harmony in the country.

That day, the Congress favoured the construction of the Ram temple and sought to take credit for the development, insisting it was the party-led central government that acquired 67 acres outside the disputed 2.77 acres in 1993 to maintain law and order.

The Congress also recalled it was the Rajiv Gandhi government that allowed ‘shilanyas’ or a groundbreaking ceremony at an undisputed site close to the structure and opened the doors of the Ram temple in 1986.

After the demolition of the disputed structure on December 6, 1992, the Centre acquired the disputed site and 67 acres surrounding it through a law passed in 1993. The land included pockets of government land, a disputed shrine and land belonging to Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas. But the Nyas opposed the take-over and said the land should be handed over to its rightful owner.

Quoting poets such as Maithilisharan Gupt and Nirala, Priyanka Gandhi said that for ages, Lord Ram’s character had served as a source of unity for the Indian subcontinent.

“Ramayana has left an indelible mark on the civilisation of the world and the Indian subcontinent. For ages, Lord Ram’s character has helped the Indian subcontinent,” she added.

In a tweet, she said, “Simplicity, courage, restraint, sacrifice, commitment, are the essence of the name Deenbandhu Rama. Ram is with everyone, Ram is with everyone.”

Addressing a news conference at Jaisalmer in Rajasthan, Congress’ chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said politics should have ‘dharma’, instead of having politics of ‘dharma’.

“It is the responsibility of each one of us to reaffirm our tradition of mutual respect and unity among all that has defined our society through the ages,” he said.

Last week, former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Kamal Nath too welcomed the construction of the Ram temple in Ayodhya, saying it is being built with the consent of every Indian.

“I welcome the construction of the Ram temple in Ayodhya. People of the country have been expecting and waiting for this for a long time now,” the senior Congress leader said in a video.

“Such thing is possible only in India,” he added.

The issue also resonated at a meeting between Congress president Sonia Gandhi and the party’s Rajya Sabha members on July 30. Deepender Singh Hooda said Congress leaders should speak in one voice and stick to the CWC resolution on the issue as it is attached to the sentiments of millions of Indians.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to attend the ‘bhoomi pujan’ ceremony at Ayodhya.