Historic Moment, Wait Has Been Worthwhile: LK Advani On Ayodhya Ceremony

Ayodhya Ram Mandir: "Destiny made me perform a pivotal duty in the form of Ram Rath Yatra from Somnath to Ayodhya in 1990 which helped galvanise aspirations of countless participants," LK Advani said

I feel humbled that during Ram Janmabhoomi movement, destiny made me perform a pivotal duty: LK Advani

BJP veteran LK Advani -- who put the Ayodhya Ram Temple front and centre of the issues championed by the party -- spoke up on the eve of the ground-breaking ceremony of the temple, saying it was "a historical and emotional day not only for me but for all Indians".  

"Destiny made me perform a pivotal duty in the form of Ram Rath Yatra from Somnath to Ayodhya in 1990 which helped galvanise aspirations, energies and passions of its countless participants," said Mr Advani, who became the face of the temple movement, with his rath yatras dominating politics in the late-'80s and early '90s.

The 92-year-old, who described Wednesday's ceremony as a "dream close to my heart", will, however not attend it in person. He and the other party veteran, Murli Manohar Joshi, will instead be present via video conference.

The decision came after a huge controversy during which it seemed that they would not get an invitation. The Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust -- entrusted with the task of temple building -- issued a last-minute telephonic invite to the two leaders, who took a backseat over the last few years.

"It is my belief that this temple will inspire all Indians to imbibe His virtues," the 92-year-old said in a video statement this evening.

"It is also my belief that Shri Ram Mandir will represent India as a strong, prosperous, peaceful and harmonious nation with justice for all and exclusion of none so that we can truly usher in Ram Rajya, the epitome of good governance," he added in the video statement.

The movement Mr Advani started had culminated in the razing of a 16th Century mosque by kar sevaks, who believed that it was built over a temple that stood at the spot marking the birthplace of Lord Ram.   

More than 2,000 people had died in the violence that was unleashed by the razing of the Babri Masjid on December 6, 1992.  Mr Advani, Mr Joshi, Uma Bharti and Kalyan Singh are among the BJP leaders accused of conspiracy in the matter.

The Central Bureau of Investigation claims Mr Advani -- a former Deputy Prime Minister in the government headed by Atal Bihari Vajpayee -- and the other leaders had made incendiary speeches from a dais close to the mosque.

Last week Mr Advani appeared before a special CBI court in Lucknow via video link. He was asked more than 1,000 questions over four-and-a-half hours, and has denied all charges, his lawyer said.

The dispute over the Ram Janambhoomi site was resolved last year, as the Supreme Court gave a go-ahead for a temple to be built by a specially appointed trust. The Centre was asked to give Muslims land elsewhere in Ayodhya for a mosque.