Ayodhya: As Ayodhya gains centre stage in political discourse ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, with Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray’s visit and the Dharma Sabha organised by the VHP, the BJP has decided to watch the developments from the sidelines.
The saffron party, eager to repeat its electoral performance of 2014, seems to be waiting for the perfect blend of ‘mandir’ and ‘vikas’ (development). This is probably why a section of BJP leaders, led by Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath, has been making a strong pitch for the temple and Lord Ram, while Prime Minister Narendra Modi and others are batting on the plank of development.
The events of Sunday, meanwhile, provide vital insights into the politics around the Ram Temple. Even as the Shiv Sena, VHP and RSS competed to pitch for the temple, Ayodhya remained largely peaceful. Though there was a respectable show of strength by the Sena and the VHP, the issue did not whip up passions among the masses as it had during the days of the Babri Masjid demolition.
Clearly, it means that while the Ram Mandir may be a tool of cadre mobilisation for political parties and right-wing outfits, it may take some time before the masses at large feel connected to the issue, which is sub-judice at present. Talking to News18, a senior functionary of the VHP admitted that it would require more efforts before people react to the issue and it becomes the single biggest discourse ahead of the 2019 elections.
While there is no denying that there is pressure on the Modi government from seers as well as political allies such as the Shiv Sena, the BJP is probably not worried. Political pundits say the attacks on the government may actually work in its favour as they could provide the much-needed justification to bring in an ordinance on the issue in the coming winter session of Parliament.
The stand of the government, which is battling anti-incumbency and heat over the Rafale deal, as well as the Prime Minister will depend on how the Ayodhya issue pans in the coming days. As of now, the BJP is experimenting with the ‘mandir’ and ‘vikas’ blend, waiting for the perfect one to evolve.