As elections near, Ram temple back as electoral agenda

WION
New Delhi, Delhi, India Updated: Jan 18, 2019, 06:18 PM(IST)

A file photo of Babri Mosque. Photograph:( Zee News Network )

Story highlights

The case relating to the Ram temple is still pending in the Supreme Court, which has not bowed to the demand of political parties for day-to-day hearings on the matter

RSS general secretary Bhaiya Ji Joshi has again brought the Ayodhya temple issue to the fore.

Weeks after the issue receded from the news headlines, he told the press that the Ram temple should be built before the next Kumbh, which is set six years from now. Asked about the time gap, he said, ”if construction starts immediately, then the temple would be ready by 2025.”

The case relating to the Ram temple is still pending in the Supreme Court, which has not bowed to the demand of political parties for day-to-day hearings on the matter.

After its defeat in three north Indian states in recent elections, the BJP has resurrected Ayodhya issue -- which is sub judice -- with much fanfare. It is the clamour for the temple that had pitchforked the BJP to India's political centre-stage in the 1990s.

By 1998, the issue had fizzled out and during the general election of 2014, the Ram temple was not even a core campaign issue for BJP.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in an interview to a news agency had scotched speculation of immediate legislative intervention to hasten the building of the Ram temple. He had said that the government will await the supreme court's verdict. As of now, a makeshift structure exists where the deity of Lord Ram stands.

Despite the prime minister's categorical assertion, the RSS and cadres of the BJP have taken a contrarian position with a view to improving their prospects in the coming general election.

In the absence of any wave, the BJP is expected to face strong anti-incumbency in Hindi heartland of the country.

Insiders have told WION that Ram Mandir is an issue which binds BJP workers together. However, no construction can take place until the Supreme Court gives its verdict in the long-pending case. The RSS and seers inclined towards BKP want to keep the issue alive till the parliamentary elections.

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