Mumbai: Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray on Friday (July 31) said that the 'Bhoomi Pujan' (groundbreaking ceremony) of the proposed Ram Temple in Ayodhya, scheduled to be held on August 5, is not required amid the COVID-19 pandemic and could be organised later when things normalised.

He also rejected chief minister Uddhav Thackeray's suggestion for "e-bhoomi pujan" and said the ground-breaking ceremony should be held with great fervour.

Speaking to a Marathi news channel, the MNS chief said, "The bhoomi pujan is not required at this time as people are in a different mindset right now. It could have been held after two months when things normalise. People would have enjoyed the ceremony then."

According to the members of the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teertha Kshetra trust, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to visit Ayodhya on August 5 for the bhoomi pujan to begin the construction of the Ram Temple.

Thackeray also found faults in the way the state government handled the COVID-19 situation in Maharashtra and said that it was necessary to allay people's fears regarding the disease.

"It is important to help people come out of this fear. The restrictions imposed by the state government, news on TV channels and messages on WhatsApp have all led to a kind of chaos. You need to make people feel relaxed," Thackeray added.

Expressing concerns over the financial crisis and job losses in the state, the MNS chief made a strong pitch for resumption of economic activities.

When asked about his cousin Uddhav Thackeray's performance as a chief minister, the MNS chief said he had seen the Shiv Sena president "only on TV".

"I could not see his work in the last four-and-a-half to five months," he added.