Amid Election Commission campaign ban, Yogi Adityanath to visit Ayodhya today

Yogi Adityanath. Photograph:( ANI )

PTI New Delhi, Delhi, India Apr 17, 2019, 08.50 AM (IST)

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath will visit the Ram Lalla temple in Ayodhya on Wednesday, amid the 72-hour ban on campaigning imposed on him by the Election Commission.

Adityanath visited the famous Hanuman Setu temple in Lucknow and offered prayers on Tuesday, a day after the Election Commission barred him from electioneering for three days for likening the ongoing Lok Sabha polls to a contest between 'Ali' and 'Bajrang Bali'.

In Ayodhya, along with the makeshift shrine to Ram Lalla, Adityanath will also pray at the nearby Hanuman Garhi temple on Wednesday.

Faizabad BJP district president Awadhesh Pandey told PTI, "The chief minister's programme is all confirmed; he will offer prayers at Ram Janambhoomi and Hanuman Garhi temple and will meet VHP religious leaders in Ayodhya on Wednesday."

Adityanath will be meeting Ram Janambhoomi Nyas president Mahant Nritya Gopal Das and Digambar Akhara Mahant Suresh Das, he said. According to Mahant Suresh Das, Adityanath will spend Wednesday in Ayodhya and will have lunch with prominent Sadhus of Ayodhya at Digambar Akhara.

In the evening, Adityanath will go to Devipatan, a temple of goddess Durga in Balrampur district, where he would stay the night.

Adityanath reached the Hanuman Setu temple in Lucknow on Tuesday morning and got a rousing reception from his supporters amid slogans of "Jai Gorakhdham" and "Jai Bajrang Bali Ji".

Adityanath, however, refused to take questions from the media persons, following the Election Commission's gag order.

He spent about 25 minutes at the temple and was seen bowing before the deity and sitting with folded hands to recite the "Hanuman Chalisa."

Though Adityanath accepted greetings from the large numbers of morning worshippers present there on a Tuesday, the day dedicated to Lord Hanuman, with a smile, he refrained from interacting with them.

Adityanath also stayed away from Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh's roadshow, held on Tuesday before he filed his nomination papers for the Lucknow Lok Sabha seat. Adityanath also cancelled his rallies in Nagina and Fatehpur Sikri.

The BJP termed the chief minister's visit to the temple "a personal one".

The Election Commission on Monday barred Adityanath from campaigning for 72 hours starting 6 am on Tuesday for his "divisive" comments at a rally in Meerut. "If the Congress, the Samajwadi Party and the BSP have faith in Ali, we too have faith in Bajrang Bali," Adityanath had said there.

While Ali is a revered figure in Islam, Bajrang Bali is another name for Lord Hanuman.