Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh): Maharashtra minister Aaditya Thackeray arrived in Ayodhya on Wednesday (June 15) to offer prayers at the Ram temple site in Lucknow. Thackeray’s descendant told media persons, “When we came for the first time in 2018, we said ‘first mandir, then government’… I will pray and seek blessings… The land is not political, it is the land of ‘Ram’. State’.”
Aaditya Thackeray’s visit comes after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (NNS) criticized the Shiv Sena for “abandoning Hindutva”. Raj Thackeray was also scheduled to visit Ayodhya this month but due to some reasons this tour was canceled.
Thackeray was warmly received at the Lucknow airport by a large number of Shiv Sainiks carrying party flags and banners and chanting ‘Jai Shri Ram’. Hundreds of Shiv Sena workers from Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh are accompanied by Thackeray Jr., who left Lucknow for Ayodhya in a long convoy in the high-profile and eagerly awaited journey.
During his stay in Ayodhya, Aditya will offer prayers at Ram Lalla’s temple, visit the upcoming Lord Ram temple being built and perform ‘saryu aarti’ in the evening. The visit comes after a preparatory visit by Shiv Sena MP and chief spokesperson Sanjay Raut, PWD minister Eknath Shinde and others here on June 6, besides coordinating with UP Shiv Sena leaders.
Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut has earlier said that Aaditya Thackeray’s visit to Ayodhya is “not a political event”. Raut, who has been camping there since Tuesday, reiterated that the Shiv Sena has a long association with Ayodhya since the start of the struggle for the temple and even later. Raut further said, “We have unwavering faith in Lord Ram and our leaders or workers come here regularly… Praying at the Ram Lalla temple fills us with a divine energy.”
Earlier Uddhav Thackeray had come to Ayodhya when he did not have any post and later visited after becoming the Chief Minister. The Shiv Sena formed the government in Maharashtra in alliance with the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party after ending the decades-old alliance with the BJP.
(With inputs from ANI/IANS)