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Modi cancels visit to Ayodhya, meets Advani in Delhi Last Updated : 18 Jun 2013 05:51:43 PM IST Narendra Modi cancels visit to ram Temple (File Photo)
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi has declined an invitation to visit Ayodhya, his office said on Tuesday.
A report had earlier said that he will be visiting Ayodhya and Ram Mandir this week.
The decision to cancel Ayodhya visit is seen as a move to avoid stoking a fresh controversy as BJP comes to terms with a bitter separation from JD(U).
The Chief Minister's Office in Ahmedabad, in a press statement, clarified that Modi "politely declined" the invitation to attend the 'Amrit Mahotsava' being celebrated on the 75th birthday of president of Ram Janma Bhumi Nyas Trust Mahant Nritya Gopal Das.
"On June 13 Nritya Gopal Das had made a phone call to Chief Minister and invited him to attend his Amrit Mahotsav being organised during June 19 to 22, 2013. But, he had politely informed him that because of his pre-decided engagements it would be difficult for him to remain present," the statement said.
Modi, while expressing his inability to attend the function, thanked the Mahant for the invitation and wish for the success of the function, it said.
Vishwa Hindu Parishad's Uttar Pradesh spokesman Sharad Sharma had yesterday said that Modi was expected to visit Ayodhya on Wednesday or Friday and frontline leaders of the Hindutva brigade like Ashok Singhal, Praveen Togadia, Gorakhpur MP Yogi Aditya Nath and Yoga Guru Ramdev would also reach the temple town to welcome him.
The move was seen as politically significant as BJP, mindful of the concerns of its allies, had avoided raking up the contentious Ram temple issue over the last several years.
With JD(U) exiting from NDA, the visit by Modi, BJP's Election Campaign Committee chief, was viewed as an attempt by the Gujarat leader to make it clear that he would not fight shy of blending his development agenda with pro-Hindutva politics in the assembly elections to states due later this year and next year's Lok Sabha polls.
With JD(U) jumping off the NDA bandwagon, the alliance is left only with the Shiv Sena, a hardline Hindutva outfit with its influence limited to Maharashtra, and Punjab-centric Shiromani Akali Dal.
Modi meets Advani, Vajpayee
On his first visit to Delhi after being made head of BJP's election campaign committee, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi met senior BJP leader L K Advani on Tuesday, June 18, and is understood to have discussed the recent political developments including the split in the NDA.
Sources close to Advani, who was unhappy over Modi's anointment, later said that the two leaders had a "good meeting".
Modi, who drove down to Advani's residence at Prithviraj Road in New Delhi, spent about an hour with the BJP patriarch and left without meeting the media.
The two leaders discussed a range of issues including the party's internal affairs and the split in the NDA after BJP's old-time ally JD(U) parted ways after an alliance of 17 years, the sources said.
Tuesday's meeting assumed significance as Advani had resigned from key party posts expressing displeasure at being sidelined over the Modi issue.
Advani, however, later withdrew his resignation following a telephonic talk with RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat and persuasion by BJP leaders.
Spends time with Vajpayee
The Gujarat Chief Minister also spent more than an hour with ailing former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee at his residence.
Earlier, Modi also met senior BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi to express his gratitude on being entrusted with the task of spearheading the party's poll campaign for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
"Modiji has come to Delhi to express his gratitude over his recent appointment as Chairman of the BJP Campaign Committee at Goa. He has expressed his gratitude and said he is trying to fulfil the responsibility given to him," Joshi later told reporters.
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