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BJP to use Ram Setu to revive Hindutva vote bank
Sunil Gatade in Bhopal | September 23, 2007 17:01 IST
With Ayodhya receding to the background, the BJP appears to have found an emotive issue in Ram Setu to revive its Hindutva vote bank as it feels mid-term elections are 'imminent.'
The party national executive, which is concluding its deliberations on Sunday, has passed a resolution on the Ram Setu issue in a clear move to make it its campaign theme along with the opposition to the Sachar Committee report on the status of Muslims.
The meeting saw senior leader L K Advani, who led the Ramjanambhoomi movement, at centre stage as former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee remained absent due to health reasons but promised partymen that he would soon be 'in their midst.'
While the main opposition party, which lost power in the 2004 Lok Sabha elections after a six-year stint in office, remained unclear on the leadership issue, it remained upbeat for having found an 'emotive issue' just in time to revive its Hindutva vote bank, according to political observers.
The party believes mid-term elections will be held sooner than later with Advani predicting they are imminent in the first half of 2008, one year ahead of schedule.
The talk of Ayodhya has receded to the background and that of 'saving' Ram Setu has come to the fore as the party is again seeking to build bridges with its core constituency.
Senior Party leader Murli Manohar Joshi has made it plain the party had never promised to construct the Ram temple, but had vouched to support to trusts like Ramjanmabhoomi Nyas.
On the same lines, the party would be extending all possible support to the Rameshwaram Ram Setu Raksha Manch for preservation of the Ram Setu, he said.
The resolution on Ram Setu said a government that doubts existence of Lord Ram does not fit in the democratic fabric of the country.
"A government displaying such complete ignorance about its history, culture, tradition, literature and not accepting the contribution of great characters like Ram and great saints like Valmiki, who had shaped the ethos of the nation from time immemorial, does not deserve to stay in office," it said.
"Each one of the UPA government's decision is intended to pursue minority politics intended to use the Muslims as instrument of political power," the resolution said.
Saturday's party rally in Bhopal had a huge picture of Lord Ram armed with bow and arrow, reminiscent of the Ayodhya movement days when the saffron outfit first sought to sway the people on a 'Ram Lehar.'
The resolution on the construction of Ram temple at Ayodhya was passed at the Palampur National Executive in 1989 and seven years after that, the BJP had a brief brush with power at the Centre for the first time.
Detractors of the BJP, however, say the saffron party cannot revive the old magic as it stood 'exposed on the Ram temple issue.'