Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday took a jibe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and said the Ram Mandir inauguration ceremony in Ayodhya was Modi's function.
Speaking to reporters amid the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra, Gandhi said, "The RSS and the BJP have made the 22nd January function a completely political Narendra Modi function. It's an RSS BJP function and I think that is why the Congress president said that he would not go to the function."
"We are open to all religions, all practices. Even the authorities of the Hindu religion, the biggest authorities of the Hindu religion, have made their view public about what they think about the 22nd January function that it is a political function," Rahul Gandhi said.
"So it is difficult for us to go to a political function which is designed around the Prime Minister of India and designed around the RSS," he added.
Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge, former party president Sonia Gandhi, and leader of the party in the Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury have turned down the invite for the January 22 temple consecration ceremony, accusing the BJP of making it into a "political project" for electoral gains.
Meanwhile, the party's Uttar Pradesh unit stuck to its plan to offer prayers in the holy city on Makar Sankranti.
Uttar Pradesh Congress chief Ajay Rai and other party leaders took a holy dip in the Saryu River in Ayodhya on January 15.
Later, the BJP took a swipe at the Congress leaders, calling them opportunists who could do anything for politics, but the opposition party hit back.
Asked about the Congress leaders' visit, Union minister and BJP leader Meenakshi Lekhi said, "They are like 'barsati mendak' (rain frogs) They can do anything for politics... they have been doing appeasement politics, but I will say 'better late than never'."
"These people who had called Lord Ram a fictional character are now being awakened... they have started on the right path and they should now also clear their conscience," she said.