SP withdraws as BSP, RLD embark on Ayodhya pilgrimage

A noteworthy aspect of this pilgrimage was the participation of MLAs from the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) alongside their counterparts from the BJP, while the members of Akhilesh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party (SP) refrained from joining for the pilgrimage. 

| Updated: 11 February, 2024 7:50 pm IST
MLAs from BJP, BSP and RLD reach Ayodhya's Ram mandir to worship Ram Lalla however, Samajwadi Party refrained from accompanying them.

NEW DELHI: On Sunday, several members from both Houses of the Uttar Pradesh legislature embarked on a pilgrimage to Ayodhya to offer prayers and seek darshan of Ram Lalla at the newly inaugurated temple. Departing from Lucknow in the morning, buses carrying members of the UP Assembly and Legislative Council headed towards the revered Ram Janmabhoomi Temple.

A noteworthy aspect of this pilgrimage was the participation of MLAs from the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) alongside their counterparts from the BJP, while the members of Akhilesh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party (SP) refrained from joining for the pilgrimage.

This development unfolds amidst speculations surrounding the RLD’s potential alliance with the BJP-led NDA, leading to a rift between allies, particularly the Samajwadi Party (SP) and RLD. While the RLD accepted the invitation extended by UP Assembly Speaker Satish Mahana, the SP opted to defer their visit to Ayodhya.

Umashankar Singh, leader of the BSP legislature party, emphasised the party’s non-political stance, asserting, “The leaders of Samajwadi Party are politicising the issue but we are not. Our party is secular & we respect all religions…One should not politicise this.”

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BJP MLA Aditi Singh underscored the spiritual significance of the pilgrimage, stating, “I am fortunate that I am getting an opportunity to go to Ayodhya…This is about religion & faith and above petty politics.”

However, SP Chief Akhilesh Yadav declined the invitation, reiterating his stance during a budget discussion in the House, where he remarked, “We will go only when Lord Ram calls us.”

Invited by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and UP Assembly Speaker Satish Mahana, members of both legislative bodies converged in Ayodhya for the auspicious occasion. Adityanath, along with his cabinet ministers, is scheduled to visit Ayodhya airport directly on Sunday, followed by a darshan of Ram Lalla at the temple.

With 400 MLAs in the state Assembly and 100 members in the Legislative Council, the exact number of participants in the pilgrimage remained undisclosed. The ruling NDA coalition, comprising the BJP, Apna Dal (Sonelal), Nishad party, and Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP), holds a majority, while the Samajwadi Party (SP) leads the opposition, supported by parties like RLD, Indian National Congress, Jansatta Dal Loktantrik, and Bahujan Samaj Party.

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Rajpal Singh Balyan, leader of the RLD legislative party, confirmed the participation of most RLD MLAs in the pilgrimage, highlighting the significance of the event. He stated, “Most of the RLD MLAs will go to Ayodhya on February 11 for ‘darshan’ of Lord Ram in the newly constructed temple.”

Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) legislature party leader Umashankar Singh also affirmed the party’s acceptance of the invitation. “We will go to Ayodhya! This is the invitation of the Assembly Speaker and he does not belong to any party but everyone has unanimously elected him,” he stated.

Jansatta Dal Loktantrik leader Raghuraj Pratap Singh also welcomed the invitation to visit Ayodhya. Mahana announced that all legislators will travel to Ayodhya on Sunday morning on luxury buses.

“10 luxury buses carrying cabinet ministers and members of the legislature, with ‘Ram Dhun’ playing in them, are scheduled to reach Ayodhya at 11:30 am,” Mahana said.

An official statement confirmed that Adityanath will reach Ayodhya airport directly at noon on Sunday. Afterward, he and other lawmakers will visit Hanumangarhi and the Ram temple for darshan.

While some legislators, like Virendra Chaudhary from the Congress, expressed regret over their inability to attend due to prior commitments, the pilgrimage to Ayodhya remained a significant event, blending spirituality with political undertones in the state of Uttar Pradesh.

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