West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has decided not to attend the inauguration of the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya on January 22, sources said. Her party, the Trinamool Congress (TMC), is also unlikely to send any representative to the ceremony, according to sources.
While the TMC has not officially announced its decision, party sources close to Banerjee confided that the party is wary of being drawn into the ruling BJP's political narrative. They believe the BJP is looking to leverage the Ram Mandir inauguration as a springboard for its 2024 Lok Sabha campaign, and TMC is unwilling to play second fiddle.
This development comes against the backdrop of the Ram Temple trust extending invitations to all chief ministers and leading opposition figures for the ceremony.
Prior to this, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury turned down an invitation to the inauguration ceremony of the Ram temple, stating that "religion is a personal choice not to be converted into an instrument for political gain".
In a post on X (formerly Twitter), Yechury's party condemned the BJP and the RSS for converting a religious ceremony into a state-sponsored event.
The newly constructed Ram temple will be inaugurated on January 22, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and more than 6,000 people expected to attend the grand "Pran Pratistha" ceremony.