The BJP strongly criticized the Congress for refusing the invitation to attend the ‘Pran Pratishtha’ ceremony of the Ayodhya Ram temple on January 22. In response, BJP spokesperson Sudhanshu Trivedi invoked India’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, stating that the current Congress is more aligned with Nehru’s vision than Mahatma Gandhi’s. Trivedi emphasized that Mahatma Gandhi used to sing ‘Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram,’ yet the Congress’s decision not to attend the ‘pran pratishtha’ ceremony implies opposition to Hindu religion and Hindutva.
Trivedi continued his criticism, pointing out instances where Congress displayed a boycott mentality, such as not issuing a statement for ten days after the 1998 Pokharan nuclear test and refusing to participate in the Bharat Ratna ceremony for Pranab Mukherjee, a former member of their party. He argued that this attitude has led the public to boycott the Congress.
The BJP’s condemnation intensified after the Congress announced that Mallikarjun Kharge, Sonia Gandhi, and Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury would not attend the Ram temple consecration ceremony, branding it a ‘BJP/RSS event.’ In response, the Congress asserted that religion is a personal matter but accused the RSS/BJP of turning the temple project in Ayodhya into a political agenda. The party suggested that the timing of the ceremony was politically motivated for electoral gain.
Various BJP leaders expressed their discontent with the Congress’s stance. Union Minister Smriti Irani accused the Congress of presenting an anti-Lord Ram face to the nation, particularly under Sonia Gandhi’s leadership. Irani highlighted the party’s previous affidavit stating that Lord Ram is a fictional character. She characterized the declining of the invitation to the ‘pranpratishtha’ as a reflection of the Congress’s anti-Sanatan mindset under Sonia Gandhi’s leadership.