Former Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has sparked a fresh controversy by expressing concerns over the possibility of an incident similar to the Godhra train burning occurring during the inauguration of the Ram Temple. Thackeray stated, "The government could invite a large number of people for the Ram Temple inauguration, and on their return journey, an incident similar to that in Godhra may occur," levying a serious allegation against the government.
The inauguration of the Ram Temple is anticipated to take place in January 2024, ahead of the Lok Sabha elections. Prime Minister Modi is expected to determine a suitable date between January 21 and January 24 for the event. The Godhra train burning case of 2002, where 59 karsevaks lost their lives, remains a haunting memory as it led to widespread riots in Gujarat.
Union Minister Anurag Thakur commented on the situation, suggesting that some individuals may have compromised their party ideologies for the sake of power. He remarked, "I don't know what Balasaheb (the late Shiv Sena founder and Uddhav Thackeray's father) would have thought today and what Uddhav ji is doing today for the greed of power." This controversy unfolds amidst a broader context, where BJP leaders have been critical of INDIA leaders regarding Udhayanidhi Stalin's controversial statement about Sanatan Dharma.
Anurag Thakur also criticized Uddhav Thackeray and Rahul Gandhi for their silence on Udhayanidhi's statement, which likened Sanatan Dharma to diseases like dengue and malaria. The Sanatan row has caused divisions among INDIA parties regarding support for Udhayanidhi's statement. Uddhav's party leader, Sanjay Raut, did not endorse Udhayanidhi's remarks, but Uddhav has yet to comment on the matter.
The Ram Temple holds particular significance as it was a dream of Balasaheb Thackeray, a fact reiterated by BJP leaders and Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde. However, following Shiv Sena's split from the BJP in 2019 and subsequent developments within the Shiv Sena, Uddhav Thackeray has adopted a more assertive stance against the BJP as a key leader of the INDIA alliance. On the issue of Hindutva, Uddhav has asserted that his father's version of Hindutva differs from that of the BJP, alleging that the BJP is attempting to claim Balasaheb's legacy due to a lack of their own iconic figures.
Reacting to Uddhav Thackeray's statement, BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad expressed his disappointment, emphasizing Balasaheb Thackeray's active role in the Ram temple movement. He lamented, "He blessed us so much, and his son says all these? This alliance against PM Modi can go to any limit for votes. I can only pray to Lord Ram to give him good sense and wisdom. What Uddhav said is shameful."