Union Home Minister Amit Shah linked the Congress protests against the government to “insulting” Lord Ram and playing appeasement politics. He claimed that Congress chose this day of demonstration to further its hidden agenda of appeasement politics.
Taking a cue from union minister Amit Shah’s comments, Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath asked Congress to apologise to the nation for “insulting” Ram devotees by staging protests in black clothes on the day the construction of the Ram temple began in Ayodhya two years back.
In a video message, Adityanath slammed the opposition party for holding protests in black clothes when the people of the country were observing “Ayodhya Divas”. He accused the Congress of playing with the people’s astha (devotion) towards Lord Ram.
However, Congress dismissed the allegation as bogus and called it an attempt by the government to give its protest a “malicious twist.”
The BJP is tried linking the protest to the foundation anniversary of the Ram Temple. On August 5, 2020, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had laid the foundation stone of the Ram temple in Ayodhya, concluding one of the lengthiest legal battles in independent India.
Ram Mandir Politics and BJP’s Formation
The politics around Ram and Ayodhya has been one of the significant reasons behind the BJP’s phenomenal rise in national politics. The party, which had just two seats in 1984, rose to dominate political landscape and came to power at the centre for a consecutive two term for the first time.
The Ram Mandir issue has been a crucial milestron which redefined the politics from the 1980s and eventually led to the fall of Congress and the rise of right-wing politics. The period saw the erstwhile Bharatiya Jana Sangh and a section of the Janta Party coming together and forming a new political entity, the Bharatiya Janata Party.
In the following decades the party, with a strong nationalistic Hindutva outlook, became the first non-Congress Indian prime minister to serve a full five-year term in office under Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
Oppn on Backfoot
The Ram Mandir movement not only saw the electoral victory of the Congress, but also led the opposition parties to step back on the issue. During the Ram Mandir agitation in 1990, the BJP had attacked the Samajwadi Party leader and gave him the infamous title ‘Maulana Mulayam’, after he ordered firing on kar sevaks in Ayodhya.
‘Elections around Ram’
The Supreme Court gave its verdict allowing the construction of the Ram temple in November 2019. The BJP had fought multiple elections promising the construction of Ram Mandir as one of its primary issues.
During the recently held UP assembly elections this year, the party made it an issue “to vote for Ram”. According to a report in The Print, hundreds of sadhus were deputed for campaigning including prominent religious leaders like Mahant Ramdas, Naga sadhu Arjun Das, and Baba Brajesh Das. Their task for tell voters that under the Yogi Adityanath and the Modi government, the dream of Ram Temple is going to be true.
The Yogi Adityanath government has prepared a plan to ensure that the aura of Vaishnava tradition to be shown in Awadhpuri, the birthplace of Lord Ram. According to the proposal, the architecture of various new government buildings and hotels will be built and imprint the Nagar tradition. Their names will be based on mythological characters, a report in Times of India said.
Various other governments have also pitched in to appeal the voters through pilgrimage plans and paying their visit to Ayodhya.
During the recent assembly elections, AAP convenor Arvind Kejriwal promised free pilgrimage to people in Uttar Pradesh and Goa. In Maharashtra, Shiv Sena leader Aaditya Thackeray and MNS leader Raj Thackeray had announced visiting Ram Temple in Ayodhya.