Ahmedabad: In an apparent move to avoid stoking a fresh controversy, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi has declined an invitation to visit Ayodhya, his office said on Tuesday evening.

The Chief Minister's Office, 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 organized 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 on Monday 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.

Sharma had also said that Modi will visit the Ram temple. "Modi's message to his party men and electorate from the land of Ayodhya will be important in the coming elections," the VHP leader had said.


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