NEW DELHI: The Ayodhya verdict has come as a morale booster for the BJP, which has begun feeling the political cost of economic slowdown in state elections.
The saffron party, whose overemphasis on nationalism has failed to defy the law of diminishing returns, hopes the roadmap to constructing a grand Ram temple and the consequential social churning will cushion the anti-incumbency factor against the Yogi Adityanath government in UP in 2022 and the Narendra Modi-led dispensation at the Centre in 2024.
“The Ram temple reconstruction would follow the Somnath model. It may take three to four years to complete. The construction of the temple will be a cultural movement for which activities across the country could be carried out. The road to the construction of the Ram temple will have socio-political consequences,” said a senior functionary of the Rashtriya Swayam Sewak Sangh.
The UP CM has strategically identified Ayodhya as India’s cultural destination. The Yogi government has also taken a handful of decisions, including building of Ram statue and annual grand deepotsav, to build his image around Ayodhya to complement his saffron-clad status of the Mahant of Gorakhdham temple in Gorakhpur.
Already, the political churning in UP is underway in subtle ways. Reports suggest the Muslims who constitute 18% of the population in the state have started identifying with Bhim Rao Ambedkar to veer closer to the Bahujan Samajwadi Party. According to political observers, that may possibly help the BSP rise significantly in the state at the cost of the Samajwadi Party.
“The BSP could be looking at the prospects of almost 38% (Dalit-Muslim) of solid vote base, which along with EBCs could turn out to be the potent challenger. However, the Ayodhya verdict and the long-drawn exercise to build the temple may cushion the BJP against the possible rise of the BSP,” said a senior BJP functionary.
The temple construction is likely to begin only next year. “The BJP had ceased to make electoral gain from the temple issue, because the people saw the party not delivering on the promises. Now that the temple would actually be built could give the BJP a fresh electoral ammunition to cut through the caste identities in a few states, particularly UP,” said the BJP member cited above.