Applying its time tested strategy of resurrecting the Ram temple issue ahead of the elections, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad on February 6 warned of a country-wide agitation by the Hindu religious leaders if the Centre did not bring a new legislation within six months, during the monsoon session of the parliament, to pave the way for the construction of the Ram temple at Ayodhya. The VHP also announced it will launch ‘Vijay Mahamantra’ agitation from April 11 to May 13, to mobilise public opinion for the legislation.
The BJP president Rajnath Singh was also present when the VHP adopted a combative posture threatening an agitation for the construction of the Ram temple at Ayodhya. A decision to this effect was taken at the meeting of the Kendriya Marg Darshak Mandal (Steering committee) on February 6 at the ongoing Maha Kumbh Mela, one of the world’s biggest religious affairs, in Uttar Pradesh.
Presence of the BJP president Rajnath Singh in the meeting of the VHP is a clear indication that the party has reverted back to its Hindutva poll plank in the run-up to the 2014 parliament elections. Rajnath Singh was quite categorical in his demand for the temple at Ayodhya.
“Ram temple should be constructed at the site of the Ram Janma Bhoomi, at Ayodhya. The BJP has been committed to the Ram temple and will never waver in its commitment. For us Ram temple is a national issue and not a political issue and no political inference should be drawn from this meeting “said the BJP president.
Rajnath Singh, who arrived in Allahabad on February 6, took a holy dip in the Sangam. He maintained that his visit was personal and for a spiritual cause, and had nothing to do with politics. “I have come here to take blessings of the saints,” he said. When his attention was drawn towards the posters and hoardings supporting Narendra Modi as the Prime Ministerial candidate, he said that the Gujarat Chief Minister was a popular leader and nothing much should be read in it and the parliamentary board of the party would decide the candidate. He however added that all the party leaders and cadres have been asked to refrain from making statements about the Prime Ministerial candidate.
“We fix a deadline of six months for the Centre to bring a law for the construction of the Ram temple otherwise the saint community would be forced to launch another agitation on the lines that the country had witnessed in the 1990s,” VHP’s Ashok Singhal said. He said the RSS, BJP and the VHP were unanimous in their view that the Ram temple should be constructed at the Ram Janma Bhoomi at Ayodhya. The two-day meet of the VHP is to be followed by a ‘Sant Sammelan’ on Thursday, chaired by Mahant Avaidyanath, head of the revered Goraksh Peeth in Gorakhpur.
Ashok Singhal addressing the meeting said “this time the agitation would be decisive towards the construction of a grand Ram temple at Ayodhya and none could deter the Hindus from achieving this goal”.
He sought to make it clear that the stance of the VHP on this issue was never softened and equated it with the freedom struggle which looked slow but finally India achieved independence from its colonial rulers.
Former BJP MP and senior VHP functionary Ram Vilas Vedanti tabled a resolution which said that the Central government had said on affidavit that the disputed land at Ayodhya would be handed over to the Hindus if it was proved that the place belonged to them before 1528. The resolution and the views of the Kendriya Margdarshak Mandal would be ratified on Friday.
The VHP leader further claimed that the survey report of the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) and the Allahabad High Court’s decision dated September 30, 2010, also proved that the disputed structure was a Hindu worship site. “The Ram temple would be built with the stones that are being carved at the workshop in Ayodhya”, he reiterated.
There was no mention of the future PM candidate for the BJP. The VHP leader Praveen Togadia however said “we have not come here to discuss any individual, politics, or party, but the issues of 100 crore Hindus of this country’’. Narendra Modi is expected to visit the Kumbh mela on February 12. This comes amidst growing clamour within the BJP and the VHP for making Modi the Prime Ministerial candidate of the NDA.
Meanwhile the ruling Samajwadi Party in UP, today lashed out at the BJP for using religious event like the Kumbh mela for their political ends. The SP also indicated that it could consider banning the visit of Narendra Modi to Allahabad for allegedly politicising the Kumbh mela. “I would like to suggest to the BJP leaders to maintain the sanctity of a religious and spiritual event like the Kumbh mela and not to use this platform for extending their political agenda and propaganda”, said the General Secretary of the Party Ram Asrey Kushwaha.