Poll pressure on government to show action on Ram temple

The Government’s Ayodhya petition in the Supreme Court Tuesday asking for the return of “superfluous” land betrays the pressure it is under to deliver or show a “tangible” movement towards the construction of the Ram temple. More so, in the run-up to Lok Sabha elections and shortly after the party lost Assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh.

Indeed, at the BJP meeting held on January 11-12 in New Delhi, the mood in the cadre was distinctly down until the temple issue came up when enthusiasm was palpable.

Not just the January meeting, at the BJP parliamentary party meeting held on December 19, a week after the party’s debacle in three key states, MPs from Uttar Pradesh raised questions over the delay in temple construction. Earlier, RSS Sarsanghachalak Mohan Bhagwat had twice, during his Vijayadashami address and his speech at Dharam Sabha organised by the VHP in Nagpur, publicly asked the government to “clear the path for construction of the grand temple through an appropriate and requisite law.”

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“There had to be some action from the government to energise the cadre across the country and satisfy the Sangh Parivar,” said a senior BJP functionary.

The BJP also hopes that this will push the Congress against the wall. For, any criticism from the Opposition party would be advantageous to the BJP’s prospects because it will help it portray the Congress as being against “Hindu interests,” said a senior BJP leader.

How effective the move — coming after its 10% quota for the unreserved poor — will be isn’t clear.

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For, the court has always linked the status of the 67.03 acres to the outcome of the title suit case that pertains to the land measuring 0.313 acres.

“It is part of our political duty towards the champions of Ram Temple who has consistently supported us. Through this we have firmly conveyed our willingness and intent,” said a source.

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Government sources involved in the preparation of the petition claimed that the move came in the backdrop of a request from Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas related to the superfluous land.

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Sources said serious deliberations gained pace after the BJP national council meeting that followed soon after the conclusion of the winter session of Parliament early this month. Those involved in the framing of the petition claim this fits the framework set by the Ismail Faruqui judgment about the undisputed land that was acquired after the demolition of Babri Masjid in 1992.

At a press conference at the BJP headquarters, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar tried to project the move as a part of party’s moves to fulfil its promise. “BJP always maintained Ram temple be built on Ram Janmabhoomi. Whatever legal measure is required, BJP will try for that. The Prime Minister had clarified that people want temple but the matter is sub judice and measures will be taken accordingly. Today’s application is also a legal decision,” he said.

“The Congress always tries to block the process. Kapil Sibal’s argument of allotting a date for hearing in the matter only after July 2019 is evidence of that. They don’t believe in Ram,” Javadekar said.