The ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) and the United Democratic Front (UDF) Opposition accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of schismatically blurring the time-honoured constitutional boundary between State and religion by wilfully donning the role of the principal celebrant and master of ceremonies at the consecration of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya on Monday.
Both the fronts depicted the high-profile event that cast Mr. Modi at its centre as more of a political spectacle to galvanise Hindu votes ahead of the Lok Sabha election than a religious ceremony marked by profound spirituality.
In contrast, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) portrayed the inauguration as the crowning glory of the Narendra Modi government and a resonant rebuke of political opponents who turned their back on the emotive ceremony.
Notably, the BJP in Kerala appeared to throw down the gauntlet to the Congress-led INDIA bloc by pointedly extolling the temple inauguration in Rahul Gandhi’s Wayanad constituency. The party’s Kerala in-charge, Prakash Javadekar, witnessed the event flanked by SNDP Union leader and chairman of the Bharat Dharma Jana Sena Thushar Vellapally, an NDA ally, on a big screen at Sultan Bathery. Mr. Javadekar termed the “huge turnout” at the event a rebuke of Mr. Gandhi’s boycott of the ceremony.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan sounded his note of dissent immediately after the curtain came down on the high-profile event that dominated the airwaves for the better part of the day. In a video message, Mr. Vijayan said celebrating the inauguration of a religious place of worship as a State event ran against the grain of the Constitution’s secular foundation.
Mr. Vijayan said several persons holding high office did not attend the event to uphold the public’s faith in the non-religious nature of the republic’s founding document.
Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan broadcasted a strikingly contrasting message by joining the BJP leaders in prayer at the Rema Devi temple in Thiruvananthapuram.
Leader of the Opposition V.D. Satheesan said in a Facebook post: “Ram will never abide by those who killed Mahatma Gandhi, and the Congress will have no truck with assassins masquerading as upright persons.” He said those who conflated religion and politics for electoral gain did the polity a disservice.
Communist Party of India (CPI) State Secretary Binoy Viswam depicted Mr. Modi as a “lawbreaker who extinguished the flame of national unity”. He said Mr. Modi should apologise to the nation for demolishing the centuries-old Babri Masjid in the name of Ram. “He should ask the victimised women of Manipur for forgiveness instead of apologising for not completing the Ram temple in time for the inauguration,” Mr. Viswam said.