A day after Congress declined invitation to Ram Mandir consecration ceremony, its INDI Alliance partner, Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) also confirmed its absence from the event at Ayodhya on 22 January.
Instead, Uddhav Thackeray is expected to go to the Kalaram temple in the Nashik district of Maharashtra. The temple is believed to be among the sites where Lord Ram stayed during his 14 years of exile.
Indian Express quoted a senior Shiv Sena (UBT) leader as saying, "Our leader will perform an aarti on the banks of Nashik’s Godavari river and visit the Kalaram mandir."
The said leader further said that on the birth anniversary of Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray (23 January), the party's UBT faction will organise a camp in Nashik and hold a rally in the evening.
Earlier, Uddhav Thackeray had himself disclosed his plans and said, "On 22 (January), the consecration ceremony of the Ram Temple will take place. On that day, we will visit the Kalaram temple, where we will hold a maha aarti on the banks of the Godavari river..."
Notably, his father, Balasaheb Thackeray had played a crucial role in the Ram Mandir movement. Acknowledging this, Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde had recently said that if Bal Thackeray, had been alive, he would have commended Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his efforts in building the Ram temple in Ayodhya.
Nishtha Anushree is Senior Sub-editor at Swarajya. She tweets at @nishthaanushree.
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