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Uddhav demands that Ayodhya Ram temple consecration ceremony be performed by President Murmu

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Mumbai, Jan 13 (PTI) Shiv Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray on Saturday demanded that the consecration ceremony of the Ram temple in Ayodhya be performed by President Droupadi Murmu as it is a matter of "national pride and country's self-respect".

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Addressing a press conference here, Thackeray said he will also invite Murmu to the Kalaram temple in Nashik, where he will pay a visit on January 22, the day of the Ayodhya temple consecration ceremony.

Thackeray had earlier announced that on January 22, he along with his party leaders and office-bearers will visit the historic Kalaram temple in Nashik and perform 'maha aarti' on the banks of the Godavari river. A day later (on January 23), the party will also hold a convention of party functionaries in Nashik, where Thackeray will address a rally.

Thackeray said after the Somnath temple in Gujarat was restored, the formal restoration ceremony was held by the country's first president Dr Rajendra Prasad.

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"Since this (Ayodhya Ram temple) is a matter of national pride and is related to country's self-respect, the consecration ceremony should be held by President Murmu," Thackeray said.

A delegation representing the Ram Temple Trust on Friday called on President Murmu and formally invited her to attend the consecration ceremony in Ayodhya. The delegation comprised Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) working president Alok Kumar, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) leader Ram Lal and Ram temple construction committee chairperson Nripendra Mishra.

Thackeray said Shiv Sainiks, who were part of the 'kar seva' in 1992, will also be felicitated in Nashik. PTI PR NP

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