BJP on the defensive, says no one can stop Lord Ram loyalist

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“Anyone can visit Lord Ram and seek his blessings,” said Devendra Fadnavis.

“Anyone can visit Lord Ram and seek his blessings,” said Devendra Fadnavis.

Even as a section of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders continue to demand an apology from Maharashtra leader Navnirman Sena (MNS) Raj Thackeray for his remarks against the people of Uttar Pradesh ahead of his visit to Ayodhya, the party took a defensive stance on Thursday and said no one can stop anyone from visiting religious places and the apology request is a personal opinion, not that of the BJP.

Joining the demand for an apology raised by Lok Sabha MP from Gonda, Brij Bhushan, Mumbai BJP spokesman Sanjay Thakur wrote a letter to Mr Thackeray on Thursday asking him to apologize for first for the violence his party clerks committed against North Indians in Mumbai. “If you do (excuse me), I will personally join your convoy from Lucknow to Ayodhya to welcome you. But in case you don’t, I will be forced to oppose you with Lok Sabha MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh,” he said.

The BJP’s Mumbai unit reacted to Mr Thakur’s letter, saying it was his personal opinion. Mumbai BJP spokesman Udaypratap Singh said the party disagreed with the letter. “Anyone can visit any religious place in the country as per their wish. Every devotee of Lord Ram is welcome to visit Ayodhya,” he said.

On Wednesday, senior BJP leader and former Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis said BJP MPs should not oppose Mr Thackeray’s visit to Ayodhya. “Anyone can visit Lord Ram and seek his blessings,” he had said.

MNS leader and former MP Bala Nandgaonkar had earlier said: “Mr Thackeray’s visit will take place and the whole state will rise in protest if anything happens to Raj saheb.”

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