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Ram Temple no more an issue in Ayodhya
Sanjay Pandey in Ayodhya | May 04, 2007 10:41 IST
Political outfits may have reaped rich dividends from it in the past but Ram Temple movement is not an issue in Lord Ram's own backyard in this assembly constituency going to the polls on May eight in the last phase of polling.
Instead, caste and religious equations are likely to play a key role in deciding the fate of the contestants.
Elaborating his contention, Khan says no progress had been made on resolving this vexed issue. The Bharatiya Janata Party had said it would construct a temple, but failed to keep its promise, he said.
The mahant of the famous Hanumangarhi temple Gyan Das echoes similar sentiment.
A discussion with a cross-section of the people of this temple town buttresses the mahant's claim that polls here would be on caste and religious lines.
In fact, the decision of rebel Samajwadi Party leader and Samajwadi Kranti Dal president Beni Prasad Verma to contest from here was prompted by the presence of a sizable number of kurmis in the constituency.
"The kurmis will support Beni Babu," said Ram Kumar Verma, who owns a sweet shop in Naya Ghat area.
Muslims also appear to be tilting towards Verma who already has the support of Congress, which has not fielded its candidate from the seat.
"Mulayam has betrayed the Muslims. His party had stalled the proceedings in Lok Sabha on this issue when he was in Opposition," said Hashmi Ansari, the main plaintiff in the Ram Janambhoomi-Babri Masjid title suits.
Khaliq Ahmed Khan claims that the SP candidate Indra Pratap Tewari is an accused in the killing of one Chand Nayar in Faizabad recently.
The brahmins, which form 20 per cent of the 3.13 lakh electorate in Ayodhya, appear to be divided as Bahujan Samaj Party and SP have fielded Brahmin candidates. In fact, SP, BJP and SKD flags could be seen fluttering atop houses in several localities in the town inhabited by brahmins and the trading communities.
Congress, which had secured about 8,000 votes in the previous assembly elections, is supporting Beni Prasad this time and its traditional votes are likely to be transferred to the SKD leader.Local Congress leader and former party MP from Gaizabad Nirmal Khatri is actively campaigning for Verma. In the absence of any emotive issue, the contestants are banking on the appeal of their respective party's star campaigners and caste equations to sail through.