'Why should allies be upset? It is our known stand. We have gone there several times, and will continue to go many times.'
In a first official confirmation to CNN News18 about Uddhav Thackeray's visit to Ayodhya for the ground-breaking ceremony of Ram Mandir, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said on Monday that the Maharashtra CM will definitely go for the event on August 5. However, the official invite is yet to reach the chief minister.
Raut downplayed the differences with the allies and the comments made by NCP leader Sharad Pawar on the priority of the government.
"There is nothing wrong with what he has said. He is a tall leader of the country. And many people have sacrificed their lives in this fight against Covid. This is the time when even the Gods are under lockdown due to coronavirus," Sanjay Raut said.
Talking about Ram Mandir ground breaking ceremony and an invite to Shiv Sena, he said, "Shiv Sena has made a huge contribution on the issue. We have cleared the path for the temple. Everyone knows that it was Uddhav Thackeray who picked up the issue, and then it moved ahead. We have a deeply emotional relationship with Ayodhya. Even before becoming the Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Uddhav Thackeray had visited Ayodhya twice. It was due to the blessings of Lord Ram and the seers of Ayodhya that Uddhav became the CM."
He said that the Sena had always wanted the prime minister to do the ground breaking ceremony. "It is happening by PM Modi is a matter of immense joy for us as it gives a message of Hindutva," he said further.
The only concern for the Sena is the threat of Covid due to which overcrowding isn't advisable.
"This is a programme for which lakhs of people would have turned up from across the country, had times been normal. One of them is Uddhav Thackeray. It is a matter of the belief and faith of crores of people," he said.
When asked about rift, if any, with the alliance partners Congress and NCP, on the issue, he shrugged it off.
"This is our known stand. There is nothing new about it. We haven't ever hidden this from anyone. We have gone there several times in the past. We will continue to go there even in the future. Where is the question of differences?" he asked.
Congress leader Hussain Dalwai said there was no question of differences in the alliance over it. "Firstly, it isn't a controversial issue anymore. It has been resolved after the SC judgment. Even the Muslim community has accepted it," he said.