New Delhi: Ahead of the Ram temple consecration ceremony, the Delhi government on Friday announced it will organise a three-day Ramlila from Saturday.
The announcement triggered a slugfest between the AAP and the BJP, with the ruling party claiming that the Centre denied permission to hold the event at the Bharat Mandapam and the opposition party saying the venue is not allotted for religious events.
From Saturday, a grand three-day Ramlila event is being organised. The special Ramlila that will go on till January 22 at the Pearey Lal Auditorium near ITO is free for everyone, a Delhi government statement said.
The 'Shriram Bharatiya Kala Kendra' will present the live three-hour Ramlila performance from 4 pm to 7 pm, it said.
The conclusion of the event will coincide with the consecration ceremony at the Ram temple in Ayodhya.
Thousands of dignitaries from across fields, including political leaders, have been invited to the ceremony. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, however, has said he did not receive an invitation for the ceremony and will visit Ayodhya with his family after January 22.
Delhi Minister of Art, Culture, and Language Saurabh Bharadwaj said the BJP-led central government denied the Delhi government permission to hold the Ramlila at the Bharat Mandapam auditorium, Pragati Maidan which is "deeply saddening".
"The Delhi government had submitted an application to book the large auditorium at Bharat Mandapam in Pragati Maidan. However, the ITPO department of the BJP-led central government, after misleading the Delhi government for several days, did not grant permission for the grand Ramlila performance in the large auditorium," he said.
The "double face" of the BJP, whose members claim to be devotees of Lord Ram, is evident now, he said.
"The BJP does not want the people of Delhi to enjoy the grand Ramlila. Its disgraceful actions reveal its petty politics," Bharadwaj charged.
The Delhi government's Hindi Academy department had been working on this plan for the past few days. The government wanted as many people as possible to enjoy this magnificent Ramlila, he said.
He further said, "Lord Ram is everyone's God – ours, theirs and of the entire universe." Countering Bharadwaj, the Delhi BJP said the India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO), which oversees the Bharat Mandapam, has a clear policy of not allotting the venue for religious functions.
This is a policy decision and not a political decision, the party said.