ooking at the future of BJP in 2019, finally, their election tool ‘Lord Rama’ has come in the limelight; just to convey that the party has not forgotten him yet. A five-judge Bench of the Supreme Court, led by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi, sent the Ayodhya dispute for mediation in camera. It appointed a panel of mediators, with former judge of the apex court Justice FMI Kallifulla as its Chairman and comprising spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and senior advocate Sriram Panchu, a pioneer in alternative dispute resolution mechanisms. The mediation would start in a week’s time in Faizabad district of Uttar Pradesh of which the disputed area in Ayodhya is a part of. The court stressed the need for “utmost confidentiality” in the conduct of mediation to ensure its success and went to the extent of opining that the media should refrain from reporting on the proceedings. However, the time given for mediation is eight weeks but the court urged the mediators to “conclude the proceedings at the earliest.” The mediators would have to file a status report in the court in four weeks. The Muslim parties get the eight-week time to examine the accuracy and relevance of the State government’s official translation of thousands of pages of oral depositions and exhibits in the Ayodhya title suit appeals pending since 2010 in the apex court. The court had pushed for a possible out-of-court settlement despite objections raised by some Hindu parties that their faith in Lord Rama’s birthplace is “non-negotiable.”The court said that the mediators could co-opt more on the panel, if necessary, and take whatever legal assistance required for them. Meanwhile, the Hindu votes that poured in for the BJP were for Ram Mandir. So, looking at the Hindu votes at their sentiments, Lord Rama is forced to campaign for BJP ahead of 2019 elections. The entire country wants to know who or what is stopping BJP to build the Ram Mandir? At least, now people should know the true badges of RSS/BJP that they don’t have any sentiments towards Temple, they treat religion as a vote bank and to divide the nation. In their zeal, the cadre mobilised by the VHP concluded that the main goal was to demolish the Babri Masjid because it was projected as a symbol of hate, a structure that personified proclaimed subjugation of Hindus by the Muslim emperors. Advani called December 6, 1992, as the saddest day of his life partially because he realised that with its demolition, the BJP lost a symbol which could be used to evoke Hindu rage.
Since then, the Ram Mandir always remained an unfulfilled agenda of the BJP because once the mission is accomplished, it will be tough to mobilise people on emotive issues. The Congress campaign has almost entirely been about Modi’s Hindutva and divisiveness. This is partly because the Congress doesn’t have much of a story to tell about, but also and perhaps more importantly because it is desperate to unite the Muslim vote and keep the BJP’s tally in the Hindi belt. If the divisive appeal works and the BJP ends up with maximum seats, it will have to sit in the opposition. The government will then be formed by an alliance of regional parties supported by the Congress from outside or a broad Congress-led alliance. That is the crux of the Congress strategy — to keep the BJP out of power in 2019 by any means. The BJP and Modi are aware of this. So, the positive part of the PM Modi’s campaign has been built on the need for economic prosperity and that Hindus and Muslims should make this common cause. The negative part, of course, is constant attacks on the UPA government and the Gandhi dynasty. Even worst is that they miscommunicate the historical facts and figures. The BJP and PM go aimless on shooting allegations on all side of opposition but if you look at the Party, 80 per cent of the leaders that BJP has now are joined leaving all those parties to whom BJP is allergic. As such BJP is not only short of issues but short of leaders too. This is the reason why PM Modi has kept scrupulously away from the Ram Mandir and the other big divisive issues in his speeches. The PM campaigned in the name of development, black money, and employment but in his more than five years of tenure, he could not deliver to his promises. Ahead of 2019 polls, again Lord Rama can save him by getting into the Mandir. When the party was in its most dire state of affairs, issue of Ram Mandir was a trump card of the party to consolidate the Hindu votes and generate such a feeling. The issue of Ram Mandir for BJP is the “hen that lays golden eggs”, they will not build the temple and move on because this is an issue, and they can whip up emotions even in moderately rational people. This time, it was development gimmick, it worked well. Temple issue could be exploited, but building it would be like killing the hens. These two communal passion, whipping issues would not be solved because when they are solved they have to come up with new ones. So, the Ram Mandir will not be built, Kashmiri Pandits would not be rehabilitated. In case BJP is serious about constructing the temple, this is the perfect time they can expedite the matter. They will keep Babri Masjid issue for the rainy days when Indian people would be disgruntled by false promises. If BJP has willed, it can easily draft a constitutional amendment or a bill to override the Supreme Court and do the needful. The question of Rajya Sabha is also simple; they will always find people to support it. Once the procedure starts, any party opposing the bill will leave itself highly vulnerable in the hands of the majority. Imagine that by some means, BJP is in quite a bad shape for 2019 polls. If it brings out the legislation at a critical time, it will be in a big win-win situation. If the bill gets stalled in RS, the Congress will be thrashed to the core good being anti-Hindu and if it passes, BJP will make itself extremely strong as the saviour of the Hindu majority.
In 2019, the NDA will win the Lok Sabha for sure. By 2020, NDA will get a majority in the Rajya Sabha. The BJP will be bound to bring legislation to make the temple. There are many arguments of building a hospital, dividing the land between Hindu and Muslims, constructing a mosque and so on and so forth. The matter is already in the court and there is polarisation for a vote on the same topic. BJP pledged to build a Ram Temple at Ayodhya, besides promising to gather views on the issue of triple talaq, ban mechanised and illegal slaughterhouses, form Anti-Romeo Squads to check eve-teasing and prevent forced migration of Hindus from Muslim-dominated rural areas, if voted to power in Uttar Pradesh. BJP president Amit Shah opted for caution. He said that if voted to power, the BJP would make all efforts to build a ‘grand’ Ram Mandir but would conform to the constitutional and legal framework. With the overwhelming mandate in UP now, the moot question is whether the BJP will deliver on the long-unfulfilled promise.
There is a need to understand that the Ram Mandir will not be built in the near future because there is a legal injunction since 2011 when the Supreme Court stayed the Allahabad High Court verdict on title suits related to the Ayodhya dispute. The High Court, in September 2010, had ordered division of the disputed land in Ayodhya into three parts – 1/3 for the temple, 1/3 for the Sunni Wakf Board and the remaining to the Nirmohi Akhara, one of Ayodhya’s militant sections. The second reason why the Ram Mandir is unlikely to become a reality for long is that the Sangh Parivar was not keen on undertaking construction of a temple. This is because the temporary structure that stands in place of the demolished mosque is a convenient symbol that can be used as a political tool for mobilising support. There is also a need to understand that the temple construction was never the main objective of the VHP agitation. However, now Bhagwat took U-turn stating that the Sangh has been associated with sentiments of crores of countrymen in the efforts for construction of a magnificent Ram Temple at the birthplace of Lord Rama, who is the personification of the life energy of the nation and icon of upholding the dharma. Only time will tell what happens, but in the end, till the time BJP is enjoying a majority in the Lok Sabha, you should get a Ram Mandir.