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Hindutva issue, Ram Mandir back on BJP's agenda

Last updated on: November 8, 2011 19:10 IST

Hindutva issue, Ram Mandir back on BJP's agenda

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Not getting the kind of public support it had expected on issues like corruption and law and order, the Bharatiya Janata Party is all set to revive the issues of Hindutva and Ram temple in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh, with the party planning to wrap up its Jan Swabhiman Yatra at Ayodhya on November 17.

In a bid to enthuse the party cadre and reach out to the electorate of Uttar Pradesh, the BJP had launched the Jan Swabhiman Yatra from Varanasi and Mathura simultaneously on October 13. Both these cities have been on BJP's Hindutva map after Ayodhya due to the Gyanvapi-Kashi Vishwanath temple issue at Varanasi and the Keshav Dev temple-Shahi Idgah issue at Mathura.

Asked if the party was trying to revive the temple issue, BJP vice-president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said, "We began this yatra from Mathura and Kashi (Varanasi). Ayodhya is an important cultural centre not only for Uttar Pradesh but the whole country. The yatra is aimed at ending Ravan rule (oppressive regime) and ushering in Ram rajya (good governance)."


Image: A BJP flag

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BJP president Nitin Gadkari will be present at the culmination of the yatra on November 17 at Ayodhya. The party will take a vijay sankalp (victory pledge) at a rally at Ayodhya. Elections in UP are scheduled to be held in April next year.

It appears that BJP has fallen back on the Hindutva and temple agenda after other issues failed to arouse the kind of public sentiments the party had expected.

The party will continue to target the Bahujan Samaj Party government as well as the Samajwadi Party and Congress on issues like corruption and good governance, but it is likely to play the Hindutva card more vociferously.


Image: A policeman stands guard outside a temple in Ayodhya

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As if to send across a message about its intentions to bring forth the Hindutva and temple issues, BJP also asked its leader L K Advani -- who had brought the Ayodhya issue to the fore with his Ram rath yatra in 1990 -- to flag off the Jan Swabhiman yatra at Varanasi.

Former BJP president Rajnath Singh and party vice-president Kalraj Mishra are leading the two yatras from different places. It will start again on Wednesday -- with Singh in Bahraich and Mishra in Hamirpur in UP -- after a short break.

With just 51 seats, BJP was reduced to number 3 in UP in the 2007 assembly elections, way behind Mayawati-led BSP, which won 206 seats, and SP with 97 seats. The only solace for BJP was that its main political adversary at the Centre -- the Congress -- won only 22 seats.


Image: At L K Advani's Jan Chetna yatra

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The BJP has also asked Uma Bharti to work in UP ahead of the elections to rejuvenate the cadre and win public support. Bharti, who was present in Ayodhya at the time of the demolition of the Babri Masjid on December 6, 1992, still holds the issue dear.

Party leaders said after the Allahabad high court order trifurcating the disputed land at Ayodhya, BJP sees the issue as "clinched" by it. Advani himself has said so and maintained that his stand on the matter has been "vindicated" by the verdict.

Moreover, with the SP, the Congress and the BSP vying for the minority votes, the BJP sees an opportunity to polarise the votes in its favour.


Image: The Babri Masjid before it was demolished

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