A controversy has erupted in Kerala after a Congress leader from Alappuzha district inaugurated a fund collection for the construction of the Ayodhya Ram temple. Alappuzha District Congress Committee Vice President Reghunathan Pillai inaugurated the fund collection drive.
He inaugurated the fund collection by handing over an amount to the head priest of Kadavil Sree Mahalakshmi Temple in Pallipuram. The fund collection for Sri Ram temple construction began on January 30 and will go on till February 28.
Reghunathan Pillai is a prominent Congress leader in Alappuzha who has held several key posts in the party. Ever since the photographs of Raghunath handing over the money started doing rounds in social media, many have criticised the leader.
However, Reghunathan Pillai told the media that he was also the temple committee president which is why he inaugurated the collection drive. He also claimed that there was no need for a controversy as had just done what the head priest asked him to do.
He also alleged that due to factional differences inside the Congress in Pallipuram, he has been dragged into a controversy.
"I am the president of this temple committee. The temple has decided to give coupons to collect funds for Ram temple construction. There is no issue in it. Babri Masjid construction is happening at one side and temple construction is also happening. Our national leaders have accepted all these. Then what is the problem?," he asked the media.
CPI (M) state secretary A Vijayaraghavan while speaking to IANS, said "The Congress and the RSS-BJP combine have always worked like Siamese twins in Kerala and this is no surprise for the political workers of Kerala. Several Congress leaders have been doing the same always and Congress does not have any right to speak about secularism after doing this".
KPCC general secretary A.A. Shukoor also defended Pillai. Shukoor said, "Pillai is a true believer and he had inaugurated the function as president of the Samajam and there is no need to rake up a controversy on this. Raghunathan Pillai is a highly secular person and has always opposed the RSS. The controversy is unnecessary."
While many national congress leaders had extended support for the Ram Mandir, many leaders from Kerala had opposed the Supreme Court judgment. TN Prathapan, Congress Lok Sabha MP from Thrissur, had written a letter to Sonia Gandhi expressing his dissent. He had also said that Congress is taking this stance in support of Ram Mandir was for temporary success.
Meanwhile a local CPI(M) leader from Haripad Thankammal also landed in controversy after she donated to yhe Ram Mandir construction. She told the media that close acquaintances had sought money and therefore she gave.