Afternoon Voice

BJP’s Ram-Naam on Ayodhya issue

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has always emphasised on the stern Hindutva agenda such as facilitating the construction of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya to target its vote bank for the elections. Now, with an eye on the 2019 elections, the BJP passed a resolution on ‘Vision 2022’ that talked about ‘New India’ which is developed and poverty-free but the party sharp-mindedly eliminated casteist and communalist issues that might lay its position in danger in the upcoming elections.

When AV asked CPI(M) leader Ajit Abhyankar regarding BJP’s act of abolishing its Hindutva agenda from Vision 2022, he commented, “BJP has now realised that people did not give a response to its casteist politics. So they went back on the defensive mode. This year, BJP did not highlight this Ram Mandir agenda in prominence to show the people that they are not using this point for inclusive harmony. They have, however, failed on the developmental agenda but BJP wants to show that the party is giving priorities to the development. Till BJP has connection with RSS and Sangha Parivar, we cannot say that the party has become inclusive. Their real face is different.”

While the Sanatan Sanstha spokespersons Chetan Rajhans stated, “Whenever any political party presents a vision document, it is prepared from the perspective of their future political gain. For their political benefits, all the parties change their main policies. It will be false to say Hindutvawadi to BJP as it is just a political party. Neither Congress nor BJP will build Ram Mandir.”

On September 9, the second day of the National Executive meet at Ambedkar International Centre in Delhi, Rajnath Singh released the document of the political resolution that praised the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of 2022 to regain its power in the 2019 with a bigger mandate claiming that the opposition lacks neta, neeti and rann neeti (leader, ideology or battle strategy). Prakash Javadekar, the Minister for Human Resource Development guaranteed the Modi government’s next tenure’s vision to media saying, “This government has vision, passion, and imagination, and the works of this government can be seen. By 2022, India will be free of terrorism, corruption, casteism, communalism, and nobody will be homeless.” On the contrary, the party tried to get away with the debatable issues such as the construction of Ram Temple in Ayodhya, allegations on the Rafale fighter jet deal and a spike in fuel prices.

Congress MP Chief spokesperson Shobha Oza expressed, “For BJP, religion is just a political tool to garner the votes and win the election be it Gau Rakshak, Ayodhya, etc. As far as Madhya Pradesh is concerned, BJP’s agenda of Gau Rakshak is clearly not seen to be going well, as the state of cows in MP is in a bad condition. They are dying due to accidents and lying anywhere on the roads and even people have become the victims of mob lynching. Now with the abandoning of the Ram Mandir issue from the vision exposes them.”

The meeting which was attended by BJP veterans including Murli Manohar Joshi and LK Advani on the second day, speaking to his party members, BJP President Amit Shah had said that the party will get ‘absolute majority’ in the 2019 assembly elections. Shah also accused the opposition as “disruptionists” and that the grand alliance being formed was nothing but an “eyewash”.

In support of the Amit Shah’s statement, BJP MLA Sardar Tara Singh exclaimed, “The term ‘Vikas’ is self-explanatory. The opposition can say anything, but we will do both the development and also build Ram Mandir. Narendra Modi is capable of doing development and he will lead the country towards the progress.”

Looking at the promises made by the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in June this year, had convinced, there should be no doubt that a temple will be built at the disputed Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid site before 2019 and also asked the public to keep patience for the same. On the other hand, until last few days, Yogi Adityanath passed the buck on to Lord Ram to decide the date of the construction of Ram Mandir. Another BJP Minister Mukut Bihari Verma who came into the limelight for commenting on the controversial issue declaring that Ram Mandir will be built on the controversial land in Ayodhya despite the fact that the matter was sub-judice in the Supreme Court. Hence, analysing the current scenario, unlike the earlier manifesto, this time completely scraping the issue from the 2022 vision might have a negative impact, if the states BJP leaders won’t stop boasting about the same for their own petty benefits, the experts believe.

Shiv Sena MLA Sunil Shinde stated, “BJP came into power in 2014 by taking forward the agenda of constructing Ram Mandir in Ayodhya. People gave the big mandate for Mandir and development both. They promised people with a big manifesto. If BJP removed Ram Mandir from the Vision 2022 then people will think once before giving them the mandate again. According to me, the removal of the Ram Mandir issue from the resolution can become a boomerang for them.”

Modi-led BJP government’s hit spot for attracting the voters until a while ago seemed to be constructing Ram Mandir at Ayodhya, nonetheless, with the fading away of the Modi-wave, it comes across as the party is now not so keen to stick to the old gun to pull the voters’ trigger for the upcoming elections.