Ram Rajya means no poverty, grief or discrimination, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said on Wednesday as he asked critics not to see political designs behind his government's efforts to develop temple town, Ayodhya.
In a speech that began amid shouts of 'Jai Shri Ram' and 'Bharat Mata ki jai' at his government's mega 'Deepotsav' event on Sarayu river bank, Adityanath hit out at critics saying there were some who opposed all his actions no matter what he did.
A total of 1.71 lakh earthen lamps were lit up at the grand event while a chopper decorated as the mythological 'Pushpak Viman' descended on the Ram Katha Park with artistes decked up to resemble Lord Ram, Sita and Laxman.
"Ayodhya gave the concept of Ram Rajya, where there is no poverty, pain, grief or discrimination," Adityanath said adding that the real meaning of the concept was a home for everyone; electricity and LPG cylinders for all households.
There are some who are used to opposing everything we do, he said.
"If I come to Ayodhya, they raise questions and if I don't, they say I am afraid of coming here. Now they are saying that the Ayodhya programme is to divert attention of the people. I am here with my work, including loan waivers, wheat purchase etc, done in the past six months," he said.
Attacking political rivals, the UP chief minister said his government did not distinguish on the basis of caste or religion unlike what happened earlier.
"We don't discriminate on the basis of caste, creed and religion. In the previous 'Ravan Raj', there was discrimination on the basis of family, caste and other factors," he alleged.
The chief minister said he found it beneath dignity to even to react to "insulting and dirty" allegations levelled by the opposition.
Adityanath said that Ayodhya had given much to humanity.
"It gave the concept of Ram Rajya, where there is no poverty, pain or grief. Where there is no discrimination. The objective of the programme is to present the real picture to the world," he said referring to the 'Deepotsav' event.
He equated the Narendra Modi government's work for the masses with Ram Rajya.
Adityanath, a priest-turned-politician, wondered as to why there were negative discussions on Ayodhya.
"We are making an attempt to take it from negativity to positivity. I am happy all Ayodhya residents cooperated in this endeavour. Ayodhya remained neglected, faced attacks continuously, but it will not remain so. We have launched Rs 133 crore worth schemes here," he said.
The chief minister said he wanted to restore the ancient glory of Ayodhya.
Referring to the 1.71 lakh earthen lamps lit on the bank of river Sarayu, Adityanath said the figure matched the population under the Ayodhya Nagar Nigam. Officials said 1.71 lakh earthen lamps at a single event could enter the Guinness Book of World Records.
Among other major attractions at the grand event was a 22-minute laser show, with special sound effects, on Ramayana.
Adityanath said this was first of the four phases planned for Ayodhya and similar development would be carried out in other places as well.
"There will be beautification of Ayodhya and its ghats. This effort will continue in other historic places. Be it Kashi, Mathura, Namisharayna (Sitapur), Mirzapur, Tulsipur (Balrampur), Saharanpur, we will develop historical places. The state should become a world tourism hub and it is a beginning from Ayodhya," he said.
Adityanath said that a 'Ramayan mela' will be associated with this programme next year onwards.
In his speech, UP Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya said that "those opposed to Lord Ram cannot stop us from developing Ayodhya"
UP Governor Ram Naik lauded the efforts of the Adityanath government in developing Ayodhya and thanked him for this assurance that all the work would be completed in two years, before his (Naik's) tenure ends.
Prominent among those present included seers, Union Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma, Union Tourism Minister KJ Alphons and BJP state chief Mahendra Nath Pandey.
After the main event, the stage was set for a grand laser show and 'aarti' (worship) of river Sarayu.
Meanwhile, the Babri Masjid Action Committee raised objections to the fanfare with which the Adityanath government celebrated the event claiming that public money was "wasted" on the show.
"It is a matter of grave concern that public funds were wasted on the event," the body's convener Zafaryab Jilani said after a meeting of the committee.