The Congress on Wednesday announced that party chief Mallikarjun Kharge, Sonia Gandhi and Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury have "respectfully declined" the invitation to attend the Ram Temple consecration ceremony, alleging that it has been made into a "political project" by the BJP and the RSS for "electoral gain".

In a statement, Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh questioned the motive behind the inauguration of the "incomplete" temple by the leaders of the BJP and the RSS.

Last month, Congress President and Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Kharge, Congress Parliamentary Party Chairperson Gandhi and Leader of the Congress in Lok Sabha Chowdhury received the invitation to attend the inauguration ceremony of the Ram temple at Ayodhya to be held on January 22, 2024.

"Lord Ram is worshipped by millions in our country. Religion is a personal matter. But the RSS/BJP have long made a political project of the temple in Ayodhya. The inauguration of the incomplete temple by the leaders of the BJP and the RSS has been obviously brought forward for electoral gain," Ramesh said.

"While abiding by the 2019 Supreme Court judgment and honouring the sentiments of millions who revere Lord Ram, Shri Mallikarjun Kharge, Smt. Sonia Gandhi and Shri Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury have respectfully declined the invitation to what is clearly an RSS/BJP event," the Congress general secretary in-charge communications said.

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