Afternoon Voice

Has BJP sidelined Lord Rama?

Building the temple is a weapon that BJP has kept in reserve for the several years. They promised to take action on it, engineer riots and polarise the polarisable voters if they think that they might lose the elections without it. With polarisation, the “staunch” bhakta type Hindus will tend to vote for BJP. And the staunch bhakta type Muslims will tend to vote for fanatic Muslim parties. The BJP’s hopes would be that it would leave the Congress in the lurch. Perhaps, another reason, they might lay an emotional card saying in 2019, if we get all the seats we can make this dream come true, and you know how this sympathy will pay off. Or they have now realised, the matter is in the legal preview and nothing much is in the BJP’s hand. Once the lock of Babri mosque was opened, the issue and conflict commenced. Once the masjid was demolished, Hindus had hopes of constructing a temple for Ramlala. Hence, BJP won several times in UP. When it realised that the state government do not have powers to construct the temple, people voted BJP into power at the centre. Even the Central government could not construct the temple. Hence, they lost the election in 2004. Modi and Shah, the twosome again raked the issue to win Uttar Pradesh in the name of the temple, they even circulated the dummy picture of the would-be structure, but as other false promises, this too just flopped.

People knew Congress will not construct Ram Mandir. Therefore, they never had any expectations from Congress. BJP gave hopes, but they know once the Mandir is built they will go out of subject for the next elections. If, on the other hand, Modi-Shah duos are able to construct Ram Mandir, the goodwill generated will be huge and they can win the election with a major community’s support. This support will last until the time another emotional issue crops up. The political resolution passed on the concluding day of the two-day Working Committee meeting of UP BJP in Chitrakoot has no mention of Ram Temple in Ayodhya or Narendra Modi, Hindutva face of the party. Yogi Adityanath is also hiding his face on this front. Indians had voted for BJP only because it claimed to be clean and corruption-free. The Congress had been tarnished for various scams and policies, Rahul Gandhi, for being the unworthy Yuvraj and Manmohan Singh, the silent puppet.

Modi will also be mocked and termed as unworthy if he doesn’t curb corruption, increase GDP, infrastructure and employment, and improve the education and healthcare system. The disappointment of the citizens has been confirmed by the recent UP bypolls and Gujarat elections (if compared with 2012). It is difficult for the BJP to win 2019 elections, unless they deliver in these criteria as well, maintaining a clean, corruption-free image. It’s too early to predict what will happen in 2019, but the “Modi Wave” seems to slowly lower its tide. On the national level, only two parties have enough credibility to make something over there which are Congress and BJP. Now, Congress is least interested in the Ram Mandir issue because, BJP has fully hijacked it and seeing no way out, they instead go for appeasing Muslims and get the votes of other sections from where they can get it. Meanwhile, the BJP’s survival is dependent on this issue, whatever, this party today is in power at the centre and also ruling 22 states is due to the Ram Mandir issue. They made it to the Parliament three times in the past (1996,1998 and 1999) and once under Narendra Modi’s leadership, during the past three reigns, it was the Ram Mandir issue which had helped them get those three terms under Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s leadership. Imagine, BJP makes the temple either by the Court’s decision or by ordinance, it will certainly win the next election for them and you never know the next to next one too, what after that? ‘Vikas’ has already died, development has exposed the BJP government, fuel prices have gone to the sky, the dollar is feeling superior at the cost of the Indian rupee, the so-called black money stashed abroad had changed its path, corruption is highest ever through demonetisation. Modi government is termed as Jumla party (party of fake promises) and PM Modi is termed as FEKU, means a person who lies all the time. This Ram Mandir topic is like lender of the last resort for BJP, if it starts to lose they simply start creating Hindu Muslim tension and raising Ram Mandir issue, one being dismissed will make BJP lose a major point to gain votes, so certainly the party won’t let this topic escape from their manifesto ever. Even if the court gives a decision in Mandir’s favour, it will be partly constructed and the construction itself will take 10 years so as to keep the benefits of Ram Mandir still available to BJP for demanding votes. Now, the Congress is in even worse situation, if they build Ram Mandir, they will certainly gain the best out of it, but will also lose a major amount of their Muslim voters forever. Hindu votes for Congress has seen a major decline. The Hindu votes after 2014 come to Congress with an uncertainty like Hindu voters may vote for Congress in the by-election and the state elections but not in the Lok Sabha elections; so it isn’t a permanent vote bank somewhere for the Congress currently. Many of the Muslims have voted for BJP in the name of Atal Ji in 1999 but 2002 incident made the party lose some amount of Muslim votes, now if a scenario which isn’t a win-win situation for any of these two parties and is more beneficial to both in its incomplete phase. It is viewed by the BJP leaders of the state as a clear indication that the agenda which was set by Advani would be the guiding force in the forthcoming Parliamentary elections. We all know that hardcore Hindutva factor became important once Modi was voted to power. So the delaying of the Ram Mandir construction now is prominently visible that BJP is trying to appease Muslims via Triple Talaq and Nikah Halala, they will not dare to lose this vote bank, after all, politics is a matter of survival.

The BJP which owes its rise to the Ram movement saw its senior leaders either staying away from the topic or remain silent participants. BJP’s inactivity and the delay in temple construction at Ayodhya is bothering many Hindu voters and they are feeling cheated. When they were in Opposition, they raised the issue and after forming the government the tune changed. After coming to power, Modi never went to seek darshan of Ram Lalla in Ayodhya. The Ram temple at Ayodhya remains on the agenda of the BJP but the party is apprehensive of taking the call on its construction. The main reason is that the Supreme Court is hearing the case and the BJP will not clash with the judiciary on such an issue. Secondly, the BJP understands that it had raised the issue of development and the national interest during the Lok Sabha polls projecting Modi as Vikas Purush. Any deviation may result in drowning the pro-development image of Modi. It also wants to establish that the BJP can deliver good governance and not just ride on religious sentiments. But looking at the overall scenario, BJP has failed on each front.

 

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