Former deputy prime minister and BJP patriarch LK Advani, a key architect of the Ram Janmabhoomi movement, on Tuesday said that the ground-breaking ceremony of the Ram Temple will be a historical and emotional day for him as well as all Indians.
The 92-year-old BJP leader is not among the invitees for the ground-breaking ceremony of the temple by Modi on Wednesday due to his advanced age amid concerns over the spread of COVID-19 epidemic.
"PM Narendra Modi laying the foundation stone of the Ram Mandir is a historical and emotional day not only for me but for all Indians," Advani said in a statement.
Advani is considered a key figure in the Ram Janmabhoomi movement, as he had undertaken the " Ram Rath Yatra" in 1990 as the then BJP president to mobilise the masses for building a Ram temple at the Ayodhya site where believers hold that Lord Ram was born.
"I feel humbled that during the Ram Janmabhoomi movement, destiny made me perform a pivotal duty in the form of Ram Rath Yatra from Somnath to Ayodhya in 1990 which helped galvanise aspirations, energies and passions of its countless participants," he said.
"A grand Mandir for Shri Ram at Ram Janmabhoomi has been a desire and mission for the BJP," he said. "On this auspicious occasion, I want to express my gratitude to the scores of saints, leaders and people from India and the world over who made valuable contributions and sacrifices in the Ram Janmabhoomi Movement."
"I am also very happy that due to the decisive verdict of the Supreme Court in November 2019, the construction of Shri Ram Mandir is getting started in an environment of tranquility. This will go a long way in strengthening the bond between Indians," he said. "Shri Ram occupies an esteemed place in India’s cultural and civilizational heritage and is an embodiment of grace, dignity and decorum. It is my belief that this temple will inspire all Indiansto imbibe His virtues."
"It is also my belief that Shri Ram Mandir will represent India as a strong, prosperous, peaceful and harmonious nation with justice for all and exclusion of none so that we can truly usher in Ram Rajya, the epitome of good governance," Advani added.
The 95-year-old, who in 1990 charioted the 'Ram rath' that made him the face of Hindutva politics and was instrumental in consolidating support for the BJP, had said in his autobiography that the temple is a symbol of the "struggle between genuine secularism and pseudo secularism".