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Updated January 11th, 2024 at 17:10 IST

‘Religion is private’: TMC leader Derek O'Brien as Congress leadership declines Ram Mandir invite

Earlier, CPI (M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury had also declined an invitation, with the Left party saying religion is a personal choice.

Reported by: Digital Desk
Derek O'Brien
TMC MP Derek O'Brien. | Image:PTI
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New Delhi: As political war of words continues over invitations to the Ram Temple consecration ceremony in Ayodhya, TMC leader Derek O'Brien on Thursday recalled West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's over a decade old quote that "religion is private, festivals are for everyone” and said not a truer word has been spoken.

"“Religion is private, festivals are for everyone” Mamata Banerjee, 2011. Not a truer word spoken," O'Brien said in a post on X.  The Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader's post came as the ruling BJP has been criticizing the Opposition leaders for turning down the invitation to the Ram Temple consecration ceremony on January 22.  Top Congress leaders Mallikarjun Kharge, Sonia Gandhi and Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury on Wednesday "respectfully declined" the invitation to attend the Ram Temple consecration ceremony, with the party accusing the BJP of making it into a "political project" for electoral gains and asserting that religion is a "personal matter".

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Earlier, CPI (M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury had also declined an invitation, with the Left party saying religion is a personal choice and should not be converted into an instrument of political gain.

It is not clear if TMC chairperson Mamata Banerjee has received an invitation for the ceremony.  The West Bengal chief minister had on Tuesday alleged that the BJP was indulging in a "gimmick show" through the inauguration of Ram Mandir in Ayodhya ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.

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The TMC supremo asserted "she does not support festivities that exclude other communities" and does not believe in dividing masses on religious lines.

"Yesterday I was asked to comment on Ram Mandir in Ayodhya as if I have nothing else to do. I said that religion belongs to individuals but festivals are for all," she said.

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In similar remarks, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav has said "religion cannot be a part of politics" and accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of hiding behind religion.   When asked about attending the consecration ceremony of the Ram Temple, he said, "How can the BJP decide whom to invite and whom not? This does not mean a call from Lord Shri Ram, it is a call from the BJP." Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and more than 6,000 people are expected to attend the ceremony. The temple trust has also invited 4,000 seers from across the country and 50 guests from foreign countries.

 

 

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Published January 11th, 2024 at 17:10 IST

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