Senior Congress leaders have distanced themselves from campaign, saying there were no plans to collect donations for the purpose
A drive launched by the National Students’ Union of India (NSUI), the student wing of the Congress, in Rajasthan to collect funds for Ram temple construction in Ayodhya has put the ruling party in a difficult position. Senior Congress leaders have distanced themselves from the campaign, saying there were no plans to collect donations for the purpose.
The NSUI has take up the 15-day special drive in all educational institutions, starting from the Rajasthan University’s Commerce College in Jaipur. Its State president Abhishek Choudhary said a token amount of one rupee would be taken from each student in the schools, colleges and universities across the State.
Mr. Choudhary said the campaign was aimed at exposing the BJP and the RSS affiliates, “which had amassed huge amounts of money for the proposed temple without any accountability”.
He added, “We wish to tell the people that God needs devotion rather than money. Even a donation of one rupee is sufficient”.
An embarrassed Congress has found it difficult to counter the charge of playing to the people’s sentiments over the temple construction. Medical and Health Minister Raghu Sharma said on Thursday that there was no need to donate crores of rupees and the contribution of small amounts was sufficient for people to show their faith.
‘Congress is secular’
AICC national treasurer Pawan Bansal, who was here to attend a party meeting, said the fund-raising was not in consonance with the party’s stand. “The Congress is secular. We have no plans to collect donations for Ram temple,” he observed at a press conference.
The BJP has accused the Congress of indulging in politics over the temple through its student wing. Its State president Satish Poonia said in a statement that the funds were being collected by the Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra, which was a registered trust, without any coercion. “The people can voluntarily contribute any amount of money. The politics on the temple is unwarranted.”