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Ayodhya Temple to dominate political discourse unless challenged by Opposition

From Devsagar Singh

New Delhi, July 27:Ayodhya and Ramjanmabhoomi are set to dominate political discourse in the country again with the inauguration of the construction of the temple by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on August 5. The upcoming state elections in Bihar towards the end of this year,   West Bengal early next year and Uttar Pradesh in 2022 will see it in ample measure.

The Opposition is already in backfoot. One would have normally expected the Opposition to attack the Prime Minister for accepting an invitation to attend the ‘Bhoomi Poojan’, a completely religious function.  Remember how  Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru as Prime Minister had opposed the then President Rajendra Prasad attending the inaugural function of Somnath Temple in Gujarat in the name of secularism more than six decades ago?

It is now largely accepted that the Ram Mandir issue is a major political success of the BJP. The earlier impression that the temple would never come up and the BJP’s continued attempt to seek a vote in its name would only backfire is no longer true. The long-pending legal dispute on Ramjanmabhoomi ultimately went in the BJP’s favor and now its construction may also go in the party’s favor, observers believe.

Indeed, the BJP  is looking at a longer horizon to reap the political dividend of the temple. In other words, not just a few state elections in the coming one year or two,  even the Lok Sabha elections in 2024  are in the party’s mind.  Significantly, an Ahmedabad architect involved in the temple construction has gone on record to say that the grand edifice will be completed in about three and a half years. That would be the time when the Modi Government would be seized of re-election.

Knowledgeable people say the temple frenzy would pick up slowly to attain the maximum pitch around the election time in 2024. Many may say three and a half years is a long time in politics. But, obviously, BJP disagrees and, perhaps,  for the right reasons. Nothing is going to happen politically other than a further fractured Opposition as is visible today. The principal Opposition party the Congress is in disarray. The other parties matter marginally in the Parliamentary polls. So, even if the people get disenchanted with the present Modi Government, they will have little option in hand. (Ayodhya Temple/Ayodhya Temple)

Modi is definitely facing a tough task with a nosediving economy as a result of the pandemic. His own image has taken a beating after a prolonged border standoff with China.  If the economic woes deteriorate further, as is likely,  the Prime Minister may have more trouble at hand. His only hope, in that situation, will be a good monsoon and a bumper crop. This again is not in his hand.

Even so,  the BJP’s long-term planning is only to be appreciated as opposed to other political parties across the spectrum.  Congress is in a deep crisis unable to solve the leadership crisis right now. It is in no great position to attract partners to join hands against Modi. Mamata Banerjee is forced to be over-preoccupied in Bengal. Sharad Pawar is steadily becoming a non-entity in politics. This suits the BJP well. According to observers, it is the BJP itself which is orchestrating such developments in the Opposition fold as part of its astute political planning.

The Opposition success lies in collective planning to expose Modi on various fronts, in particular, the management of the economy during the crisis as also it’s handling of the  Covid-19 which has engulfed the whole country belying the initial euphoria. Only this can counter the temple mania.

–Ayodhya Temple/Ayodhya Temple/Ayodhya Temple

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