The issue of the Temple of Ram, which has dominated political and electoral discourse in Uttar Pradesh since 1991 and decided the outcome of the polls, threatens once again to overshadow the real issues in this religious city, but this time under another day.
The challenge is the same but the slogans have changed.
If it was ‘Saugandh Ram ki khate hain, mandir wahin banayenge’ (we swear in the name of Lord Ram that we will build the temple on his birthplace) from 1991 until the Supreme Court verdict in favor of Hindu litigants in November 2019, now BJP slogan is ‘Jo Ram ko laye hain, ham unko layenge’ (we will bring to power those who brought Lord Rama here).
The BJP banners and posters that dotted homes and appeared on the streets spoke mostly of the Ram Temple.
“Do you think Ram Temple could ever have become a reality if Samajwadi Party or BSP or Congress had been in power?” asked Swami Shivramanda, an ascetic, who had called Ayodhya home for the past ten years. . correspondent sitting on the bank of the sacred Saryu river here.
Her follower Girija Devi also echoes a similar sentiment, though she admits commodity prices have risen sharply under BJP rule. “It is the government’s responsibility to control prices,” she said.
Another seer Raghuveer Das also said that the credit for building the Ram temple should go to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and UP CM Yogi Adityanath.
A majority of the devotees, who flooded the holy river for bathing in different parts of the state and the country, expressed their joy that the Temple of Ram would be a reality very soon, but were not in favor of making it one. issue in the elections. . “Ram belongs to everyone… he does not belong to any individual or political party and no party should use Lord Rama’s name in the polls,” said Ghanshyam Sawant, who came from Maharashtra.
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Interestingly, many people, especially shopkeepers, who were selling religious books and other necessities for the puja, criticized the city’s incumbent BJP MP Ved Prakash Gupta, who was reappointed, saying that he was inaccessible and also that he did not address the issue of demolishing hundreds of small traders’ shops for the widening of roads here. The merchants had also closed their establishment to protest against the demolition. “Gupta had actually supported the demolition,” said one of the store owners.
BJP leaders, however, said people would vote for Modi and Adityanath and not Gupta in the polls. ”We have to look at the big picture….the MLA doesn’t matter,” a local BJP leader said.
Samajwadi Party (SP) candidate Tej Narayan Pandey aka Pawan Pandey, on the other hand, seemed to be more popular with traders and other sections of the population here. Pandey dismissed the claim that Ram Temple was a problem in the polls. ”People will be voting on real issues not Ram Temple…..the electorate here is not happy with their representative and the government…SP is getting support from all sections of society this times,” said Pandey, who won the seat in the 2012 polls. DH.
Although the city seemed the same with narrow, cramped lanes and traffic jams, real estate prices shot up several times after the SC verdict, and construction activities resumed in Ayodhya and surrounding areas. There were reports that politicians and bureaucrats bought large tracts of land in and around Ayodhya after the verdict. Some members of the office of the Ram Temple Trust, which oversees the construction of the temple, have also been accused of financial irregularities in the purchase of land for the construction of the temple.
The BJP was banking on the support of its traditional Brahmin, Thakur and Bania votes as well as the votes of the Nishad community, as it has an alliance with the Nishad party, which together numbered around 1.75 lakh. Pandey, however, also relies on Brahmin voters who alone numbered around 64,000 as well as his party’s vote bank, comprising Muslims and Yadavs, which together numbered around 92,000.
It remains to be seen if Ram Temple triumphs here again. The seat will go to the polls in the fifth phase of voting on Sunday, February 27.
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