Lucknow: If its elections in Uttar Pradesh, then Ram Temple talk must be somewhere around. Circa 2017, its back yet again. Since the BJP took shape as a political party in 1980, construction of a Ram Temple at birth place of Ram Lalla has consistently been on the party’s radar.
It has almost become a ritual of sorts for the BJP’s political environment to revolve around Ram Mandir before every UP assembly election. Ditto 2017. In conversations with several UP BJP leaders, the consensus has been that only a hard ideological line can take the party anywhere near the mark of 42% votes it got in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. Just look at the numbers for a moment.
In 2012 UP assembly elections, Congress polled a total of 88.33 lakh votes, where as the BJP polled a total of 1.14 crore votes.In the Modi wave of 2014 lok Sabha elections, Congress tally reduced to 60.61 lack votes, while the BJP tally went up to 3.43 crore votes, thus giving it a rich harvest of 71 seats.
The challenge for the party now, two and a half years down the line is to repeat that performance. Speaking to CNN NEWS18, maverick BJP leader Subramanian Swamy offered his own remedy. When asked whether PM’s model of “vikas” based talk is good enough to see the party through, his response “Development is a necessity for winning an election, but its not a sufficient condition”.
What translates into is this: Development talk may have worked in 2014 when there was a feeling of economic stagnation! But that bullet can’t be fired again. Swamy isn’t alone in this view. Vinay Katiyar, another well known pro temple voice has never minced his words “For how long will Ram Lalla be covered with tarpaulin ?”
On the ground, in Ayodhya itself, the mood is very different. Citizens still gather around Sita ki Rasoi to wonder whether Ayodhya, known as the ‘Abhishapt nagri‘, will ever come out of the shadows of demand for a temple. The common view here is, work out a compromise. Get the Supreme court to do a daily hearing of the case. If a compromise can be worked out, why even wait for the judiciary.
Amongst several options being discussed on the table, the most prominent one is to build a mosque on the other side of adjacent Sarayu river. An option which hasn’t been accepted yet by the Muslims. Can this be the basic premise on which the issue could be solved? It certainly will go down as a feather in Narendra Modi’s cap.