Ayodhya Temple issue: A headache for BJP?

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At the start of Hindu New Year which falls on April 6, a week before India is subjected to undergo the most extensive political exercise to elect its new Prime Minister and constitute a fresh Lok Sabha, millions of Hindus will be heading out to temples to pray for a temple at Ayodhya.

They will be praying, singing religious hymn and renewing their pledge to build a temple at the place where in 1992 Hindu mob demolished the 16th-century mosque called Babri Mosque, built on the command Mughal King of Zaheer-ud-din Babar in 1526. The matter is sub judice currently and the Indian Supreme Court will give the final verdict regarding the matter.

Babri Mosque Incident

The current ruling regime of BJP in India has faced a notorious incident during their tenure back in 1992 when Babri mosque in Ayodhya was demolished by a Hindu mob. Muslims were persecuted during the riots leading to a death toll widely believed to be around 1000 individuals.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is criticized by the opposition, masses on social media and a small portion of mainstream media as well for failing to deliver on the promises of economic growth and reducing unemployment.

Hindus believe that Ayodhya is the birthplace, “janam bhumi” of Lord Ram, hence, it is an absolute requirement that a temple should be built at this place. Since religious sentiments pertinent to the particular place of Ayodhya are too sensitive for both Hindus and Muslims, for Muslims due to Babri Mosque and for Hindus due to the significance as the birthplace of Lord Ram, therefore, a conclusion has not been reached so far.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is criticized by the opposition, masses on social media and a small portion of mainstream media as well for failing to deliver on the promises of economic growth and reducing unemployment. Since it has not been able to make the mark with respect to these questions, BJP has kept other issues like tensions with Pakistan and Ram Temple live to keep the attention of media and public away from genuine concerns.

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Over the past entire tenure of BJP, especially the last two years, almost entire mainstream media of India which is considered as a mouthpiece for the Modi government, kept on debating about the Ram Temple issue to use the public sentiment in favor of the ruling party.

The gameplay has been quite smart where BJP has been using the Ayodhya issue to gain political momentum at local level using its subsidiaries such as RSS and likeminded hardcore Hindu ideologists like Vishwa Hindu Parishad or World Hindu Council. But at the same time, presented itself helpless to its support base for having no authority to make a decisive call as the matter is under the jurisdiction of Supreme Court of India.

The ruling political establishment has used all tools at its disposal, be it putting lives of its forces at risk in the standoff between Pakistan or fueling communal violence for its gain, to make a way back to power for another tenure.

It has enabled the party to reap the benefits while avoiding the consequences, until now. But the issue was not allowed to reach a certain threshold as it may have resulted in communal riots and deaths, a feather already in the cap of PM Narendra Modi under whose watch hundreds of Muslims perished by the hands of Hindu vigilantes in Gujrat back in 2002.

Such a hostile environment is not feasible during the election time and it brings international shame for the country at the same time. Therefore, BJP has advised its leaders not to use Ram Temple issue as a campaign tool, instead highlight the tough stand Modi took against Pakistan and other economic achievements.

Read more: Babri Masjid case: BJP leaders charged for criminal conspiracy

The ruling political establishment has used all tools at its disposal, be it putting lives of its forces at risk in the standoff between Pakistan or fueling communal violence for its gain, to make a way back to power for another tenure. For better or worse, the strategy seems to be working for BJP as it is expected to win a majority, but not as much as it did back in 2014.

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