The Congress on Friday called the Ram Temple event in Ayodhya an “out and out political” event. The party, which has refused to attend the consecration ceremony on January 22, claimed the BJP is opening an incomplete temple to score political brownie points in view of the general elections later this year.

Referring to Jyotir Mutt head shankaracharya Avimukteshwaranand Saraswati’s refusal to attend the grand ceremony, Congress leader Pawan Khera alleged that the installation of Lord Ram’s idols isn’t being held in accordance with religious procedures.

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He claimed all four shankaracharyas (religious leaders) have said the consecration ceremony cannot be performed in an incomplete temple.

“Why will I tolerate workers of a political party becoming middlemen between me and my God?” he was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.

Pawan Khera said the Congress party leaders will visit the Ram Temple in Ayodhya later.

“The first question is does one go to God’s temple after an invitation. Be it a temple, church or mosque, will we wait for an invitation. Who will decide on what date and which section of people will go? Will a political party decide?” he said, per PTI.

“There is no dharma and ‘aastha‘ (faith), there is only politics in this (event),” Khera added.

He claimed the religious leaders wanted to hold the ceremony on Ram Navami, reported the agency.

“We want to know how the date for it was decided. Tareekh ka chunaav nahi hua hai, chunaav dekh kar tareekh tae ki hai (The date has been selected keeping elections in mind),” he said.

“For one person’s political tamasha, we cannot allow… (anyone to play) with our ‘aastha’ and God,” he added.

The shankaracharya claimed he and three more religious leaders won’t attend the event because it is being held in the under-construction temple.

“What is the reason for not going? Not because of any aversion or hatred, but because it’s shankaracharyas’ duty to follow shastra-vidhi (rituals of the shastras) and ensure that they are followed. And here, shastra-vidhi is being ignored. The biggest problem is that the pran pratishtha (consecration) is being done when the temple is still incomplete,” he said, per The Print. “And if we say this, we are called ‘anti-Modi’. What is anti-Modi here”.

Congress leader Supriya Shrinate said the party’s UP unit will visit the temple on January 15.

“There are no restrictions on anyone. There was a personal invitation and massive politicisation of the event was seen. We have refused to go on January 22. We are free to go anytime,” she added.

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