In the final lap of his campaign in Uttar Pradesh, Narendra Modi, the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, slipped in Lord Ram’s name and also had the Hindu God and a temple as his backdrop. The Congress immediately tore into him alleging that his campaign was based on “polarization, not development.”
It has complained against the use of religious symbols at Mr. Modi’s rally and the Election Commission has asked for a report to ascertain if its rules were violated.
Mr Modi was speaking in Faizabad, a town right next to Ayodhya, where the 16th century Babri mosque was brought down by Hindu activists in 1992. The BJP’s ideological mentor the RSS and its affiliates have been campaigning for a Ram temple at the disputed site.
“This is the land of Lord Ram where people believed in ‘pran jaye par vachan na jaye’ (one may lose life but cannot break promise). Can you pardon those who broke their promises?” the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate said a rally, referring to what he described as the Samajwadi Party government’s failure to provide jobs in the state.
“I assure you from Bhagwan Ram’s land, I will fight corruption throughout my life. I have seen poverty, that’s why I have the courage to say this.”
But, only about six km away from Ayodhya, Mr. Modi, 63, did not mention the Ram temple, once the core agenda of his party. He was clearly walking a political tightrope.
During much of his campaign for the national election, Mr. Modi has distanced himself from overtly pro-Hindu agenda like the Ram temple campaign, and has pitched himself as a man of development.