The 23rd anniversary of the disputed structure at Ayodhya passed off peacefully. Hindu organizations, mainly the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) completed the rituals by celebrating it as Shaurya Diwas (Day of Valour) but did not come out with any concrete announcement. With thousands of pro-Hindutva workers residing in Ayodhya only few hundred turned out for the occassion that too mostly RSS/VHP workers and students of Ekal Vidyalaya and girls who are being trained as Katha Vachak.
The BJP which owes its rise to the Ram movement saw its senior leaders either stay away from Shaurya Diwas or remain silent participants. At the main function in Ayodhya, a few Hindu seers raised questions over BJP’s inactivity and the delay in temple construction at Karsewakpuram. “When they are in Opposition, they raise the issue and after forming the government the tune changes,’’ Mahant Suresh Das of Digamber Akhada had said.
Another seer and former BJP MP Ramvilas Vedanti openly targeted Modi for not coming for darshan of Ramlalla in Ayodhya. Vedanti said that if the Uniform Civil Code is implemented through a joint session of parliament, it will be seen as the foundation of the Ram temple. Mahant Nritya Gopal Das, who heads the Ram Janam Bhoomi Nyas however defended Modi stating, “Ham log bhi eik samasya ban kar khadey na ho jai.” He asked everyone to wait for an opportune time.
The Ram temple at Ayodhya remains on the agenda of the BJP but the party is apprehensive of taking the call on its construction. The main reason is that the case is in the Supreme Court and the BJP will not clash with judiciary on such an issue. Secondly, the BJP understands that it had raised the issue of development and national interest during Lok Sabha polls projecting Modi as Vikas Purush. Any deviation may result in drowning the pro-development image of Modi. It also wants to establish that the BJP can deliver good governance and not just ride on religious sentiments.
The BJP also knows that raking up temple construction issue will result in international reaction while it is still reeling under the ‘returning of award’ and intolerance debate internally. The BJP knows that touching the Ram temple construction issue will result in a series of statements from all quarters leading to verbal attack from all sides and with social media being pro-active, it will end up having to defend itself. With several important states like UP, West Bengal going to polls in coming one year, any polarisation may boomerang on the BJP as it has learnt in Bihar.