Ahead of Maha Assembly polls, Uddhav Thackeray along with 18 Shiv Sena MPs offer prayers at makeshift Ram Temple in Ayodhya

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Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday revisited Ayodhya to pay his respects to Lord Ram, in an apparent bid to reignite Hindu sentiments ahead of Maharashtra Assembly polls scheduled in October later this year.

Thackeray visited the disputed site along with his son and Yuva Sena chief Aaditya and all 18 Shiv Sena MPs, giving a miss to Maharashtra cabinet expansion taking place at the same time in ‘Raj Bhavan’, the official residence of Maharashtra governor C Vidyasagar Rao.

Veteran Congress leader and former Leader of Opposition in Maharashtra legislative Assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil (BJP), Jaydutta Kshirsagar (Shiv Sena), Ashish Shelar (BJP – Mumbai), Sanjay Kute (BJP- Shegaon, Buldhana), Suresh Khade (BJP – Sangli), Anil Bonde (BJP- Amravati), Ashok Uike (BJP- Ralegaon, Yavatmal), Tanaji Sawant (Shiv Sena – Yavatmal), Yogesh Sagar (BJP- Mumbai), Avinash Mahatekar (RPI (A)- Mumbai), Sanjay (Bhegde (BJP- Maval), BJP MLC Parinay Phuke and Atul Saave (BJP- Aurangabad) took oath as ministers.

Ministers Rajkumar Badole, Prakash Mehta, Vishnu Sawara, Dilip Kamble, Pravin Pote Patil, Ambarish Atram resigned from their official posts and their resignations were accepted by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.

Late Friday, Fadnavis held a meeting with Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray and apprised him about the Cabinet expansion. Sunday’s reshuffle-cum-expansion will be the last before the Assembly elections.

Meanwhile, speaking to reporters in Ayodhya, the Shiv Sena president said the Lok Sabha session will begin from Monday, therefore, before entering the Parliament all Shiv Sena MPs have come here to take blessings of Ram Lalla.

“We strongly believe that temple will be constructed at the earliest. This is a place where we feel like coming again and again. The government should remove an Ordinance and construct the law to build the temple,” Thackeray said.

He added that Hindus should stand united and that the Sena, through its deeds has shown the path that first comes the temple and later Parliamentary proceedings.

He further said the Sena worked to its full strength to overcome the prevalent drought in the state and added that those questioning the BJP-Sena government have not even done half of the work being done today.

Maharashtra will be going to polls later this year. The visit is being seen as an attempt by the Shive Sena to put pressure on ally BJP. But Sena has maintained that Thackeray’s visit should not be seen through the electoral lens.

The title suit over the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid site is being heard by the Supreme Court.

Soon after the BJP got a second term in the Lok Sabha elections, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat had said, “Ram’s work has to be done, and Ram’s work will get done.”​

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