'Parted ways with BJP, not Hindutva,' says Uddhav Thackeray in Ayodhya; Maharashtra CM announces Rs 1 crore for Ram Temple
Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray stressed on Saturday that his party, the Shiv Sena, is committed to Hindutva even though it has broken ties with the BJP
On his first visit to Ayodhya after becoming Maharashtra chief minister, Uddhav Thackeray announed Rs 1 crore for construction of Ram Temple
Thackeray, who completed 100 days in office on Friday, said that he has parted ways with the BJP (but) not with Hindutva
He also referred to the Sena's vocal support for the Ram Janmabhoomi agitation when his father Bal Thackeray was at the helm of the party
Mumbai: Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray on Saturday visited Ayodhya and announced an aid of Rs 1 crore for the construction of Ram Temple while stressing that his party, the Shiv Sena, is committed to Hindutva even though it has broken ties with the BJP.
Thackeray, on his first visit to Ayodhya after becoming CM last November and completing 100 days in office on Friday, also said the aid will be given on behalf of a trust and not the Maharashtra government.
He was accompanied by his wife Rashmi, son and Maharashtra tourism minister Aaditya Thackeray and another minister and Congress leader Sunil Kedar.
"In Marathi, there is a phrase 'phool na phoolachi paakli' (one should offer a petal if not the whole flower). So I am humbly announcing Rs 1 crore assistance for temple construction, not on behalf of the (Maharashtra) government, but our trust," Thackeray said.
"We are humbly requesting the members of the (Ram temple) trust (formed to construct the temple on the Supreme Court's orders) to accept the small contribution from Ram bhakts (devotees of Lord Ram)," Thackeray told reporters before offering prayers at the makeshift Ram Lalla temple.
Asked about the BJP's criticism that the Sena turned its back on the Hindutva ideology after joining hands with the NCP and Congress to form government in Maharashtra, Thackeray said the Sena still espouses Hindutva.
"I have perhaps parted ways with the BJP (but) not with Hindutva. The BJP and Hindutva are different. BJP does not mean Hindutva," he said.
He also referred to the Sena's vocal support for the Ram Janmabhoomi agitation when his father Bal Thackeray was at the helm of the party.
"Bricks bearing the word 'Shriram' were sent here from Maharashtra in those days. Those bricks could still be here," he added.
The Ram temple which will come up in Ayodhya will be for all, and it should be built on such a scale that people from world-over would come to see it, Thackeray added.
Asked if he will attend Bhumi-pujan (ground-breaking ceremony) of the temple, Thackeray replied in affirmative. "Whenever Lord Ram wishes, we will come," he said.
Thackeray did not perform 'aarti' during the visit, contending precautions should be taken in view of the coronavirus (to avoid crowds).
"I wanted to perform the aarti... But will definitely do it the next time," he said.
Kedar, who visited the temple with the Thackeray family, told Marathi newschannel TV9 that he had come here for "darshan" of Lord Ram and his visit had nothing to do with his party.
"When the chief minister of the state can take blessings, we too will take blessings. This is not about any party but faith. The party and faith are different things," he said.
Rai was recently accused by AAP MP Sanjay Singh of buying land for the Ram temple premises at an inflated price
The Congress on Sunday alleged that scams are happening by taking donations in the name of Lord Ram after two Opposition leaders accused the Ram Mandir Trust of pulling off an illicit land deal in Ayodhya
Raut's remarks came days after Maharashtra Chief Minister and Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi separately, setting off political speculations in the state