BJP knocks at Lord Rama’s door to win votes

The route the organizers has chosen for yatra that was flagged off by a senior leader of right wing Vishva Hindu Parishad at Ayodhya on February 13, is a calculated one because barring Uttar Pradesh almost each of the five states where it will travel through are sensitive and poll-bound

BJP knocks at Lord Rama’s door to win votes

Kushal Jeena

Failing to perform on economic and other fronts, the ruling Bhartiya Janata Party has again decided to knock at the door of Lord Rama to revive its political fortunes ahead of next year general elections. Amid rising distress among people as Prime Minister Narendra Modi failed to address issues like unemployment and farm sector crisis, an outfit owing allegiance to RSS has launched a 41-day long ‘Ramrajya Rath Yatra’ to create communal tension while passing through six states before culminating in Rameshwaram on March 25.

The route the organizers has chosen for yatra that was flagged off by a senior leader of right wing Vishva Hindu Parishad at Ayodhya on February 13, is a calculated one because barring Uttar Pradesh almost each of the five states where it will travel through are sensitive and poll-bound. The move is aimed at diverting the attention of the people from incompetence of the government on economic front. The demonetisation that Modi had undertaken last year has hit trading community and rendered workers in unorganized sector jobless forcing them to go back to their villages, thus further aggravating crisis in distress-hit farm sector.

In such a situation when people are frustrated and economy of the world’s second fastest growing economy is declining, the ruling dispensation that occupied political dominance riding on hardline Hindutva is now left with no option but to revive controversial temple issue creating fear among.

The 41-day rath yatra that will cover a distance of 6000-kilometre travelling through the states of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. was to be flagged off by Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath. He however, decided to keep away at the last moment as his involvement could have direct bearings on BJP leadership. The timing of such a yatra assumes significance as it began weeks before the apex court is expected to start final hearing of the Ram Janambhoomi-Babri Masjit title dispute case.

Out of six states falling under the yatra route, three are currently ruled by the BJP. It started from Keshavpurm, a place in Ayodhya where VHP had set up a work shop in 1990 to prepare for the construction of Ram temple. The Hindu devotees had stock-piled pillars at this workshop in the hope that they would be used for building temple.

Both Hindus and Muslims claim Ayodhya site in Uttar Pradesh, which Hindus claim is birth place of Lord Rama. A group of Hindus led by of senior BJP leaders including L K Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharti had demolished the age-old mosque on December 6, 1992. The ancient mosque was built in 1528-29. It drew world-wide condemnation for this act. A series of communal riots took place in various parts of the country in the aftermath of demolition killing many.

“The yatra will seek support for issues like Ram temple in Ayodhya, Ramrajya and inclusion of Ramayana, an Indian epic, in the school curriculum. Our aim is to construct a grand temple of lord Rama by next Ram Navami, the birthday of Rama,” said a senior VHP leader and one of the chief organizers of the Yatra.

The yatra has been taken out under the aegis of Shri Ramdas Mission Universal Society, a Maharashtra-based outfit and the representatives of BJP, RSS and VHP are actively participating in it. A total of 40 public meetings would be held during yatra and a series of senior VHP and BJP leaders are expected to address them.

The former deputy Prime Minister and veteran BJP leader L K Advani, who has now been sidelined by Prime Minister Modi, had also undertaken a similar nation-wide rath yatra in 1990 that ultimately culminated in razing of ancient mosque.

The Marxist-ruled southern Kerala state was the first to react to the ongoing Ramrajya rath yatra asking the centre to immediately intervene and stop it before it could take a communal turn. “Communal polarisation is the political plank on which BJP and Modi, especially the RSS, is dependent on. The yatra is a divisive idea from the BJP which wants to deflect the political discourse following its loss in the recent by-elections in Rajasthan,” said M A Baby, a former Marxist law maker.

“The yatra is a matter of law and order and the government should look into it,” said Zafayab Jiani, a senior counsel for All India Muslim Personal Law Board, an apex Muslim religious body. The organizers of yatra shot back denying it has any political motives. “It is not our fault that the election are coming up. We are not holding this yatra to campaign for BJP,” said Maharishi Shanta Bandhi of Ramdas Mission Universal Society.

The social cohesion, internal security, economic development, foreign policy and electoral commitments are five parameters that benchmark the performance of any government. The Prime Minister Modi, who came to power on the promises of ushering an all-round development, has been an failure and he has no magic wand in his hand that could reverse his political fortunes.

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