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Updated January 11th, 2024 at 16:40 IST

Nehru Had an Opportunistic Streak, Balbir Punj Says Amid Cong Decision to Skip Ram Temple Ceremony

Former Rajya Sabha MP Balbir Punj asserted the Congress' decision is not solely based on ideological differences, but stems from a more opportunistic motive.

Aaquil Jameel
nehru
nehru | Image:PTI
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NEW DELHI: As the nation gears up for the historic consecration ceremony of the Ram Temple in the holy city of Ayodhya Dham, political tensions have flared up over the guest list, with the Congress party's top leadership opting to skip the event. In an exclusive interview with Republic Digital, former Rajya Sabha MP Balbir Punj made startling allegations, asserting that the Congress party's decision is not solely based on ideological differences, but rather stems from a more opportunistic motive.

"Congress has to choose between Ram and Rahul, so they chose Rahul," Punj said, pointing to the party's concern about Rahul Gandhi's electoral prospects. Punj further went on to allege that India's first Prime Minister, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, had an opportunistic streak and harboured contempt for Hinduism.

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“Nehru had said Hindu temples are oppressive and they don't allow me to rise. I feel oppressed. If you want to see the beauty of a good building, then Taj Mahal is a template”, Punj claimed, quoting Nehru's statement from 1959.

In his recently released book – 'The Tryst with Ayodhya Decolonization of India – Punj asserts that the resolution of the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi issue was delayed due to Nehru's colonial attitude.

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The author has accused the then Prime Minister Nehru of nurturing hatred for the Hindu religion and its traditions, influenced heavily by Marxist ideologies and the education system introduced by Macaulay. According to Punj, Nehru's opportunistic tendencies were evident in his handling of the Somnath temple issue.

Punj further alleged that a cabinet meeting in December 1947, presided over by Nehru and influenced by Sardar Patel, had initially decided to rebuild the Somnath Temple with government funding. However, Gandhi's intervention led to a reversal of the decision, opting instead for public donations to finance the reconstruction. A trust, headed by Dr KM Munshi, was then formed to oversee the temple's construction.

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These revelations come at a crucial juncture as the nation is witnessing the unfolding dynamics of the Ram Temple consecration ceremony, highlighting not only political divisions, but also resurrecting earlier controversies surrounding the leaders who shaped the future of India after independence.

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Published January 11th, 2024 at 16:40 IST

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