AYODHYA/NEW DELHI: When the bhoomi pujan takes place in Ayodhya for the grand Ram temple on Wednesday, it would mark an end to one genre of politics and the beginning of another. The histrionic movement for “liberating Lord Ram” that began with a two-MP party in 1984 ends with the BJP emerging as the world’s largest political outfit in 2020. It is now set to be followed by the BJP’s quest for Hindutva immunity against economic hardships eroding the halo of invincibility around Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Winning Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections in 2022 is seen as a key to the success in 2024 Lok Sabha elections. By then, though, the temple would only be a prefacing prelude to a series of trumpeted successes. Party leaders are reportedly ensuring at least one LED TV panel in each Assembly constituency in many states to enable people to watch the live telecast of the event in Ayodhya.
The planned outreach for each stage of the construction of the temple is being seen as a clear roadmap to stay in the limelight. Political observers feel that now the saffron brigade will re-orient its strategy to keep the issue alive with a different flavour. “The saffron brigade would now re-model its discourse over nationalism, making the temple its supreme symbol,” says Prof AK Mishra, a political scientist.
By 2022 when the temple may see taking substantive shape, the BJP will be defending turfs in Bihar, UP, Gujarat, Assam, Uttarakhand, and Himachal Pradesh, besides taking a shot at wresting power in Bengal.
Visible economic hardships have affected mostly the middle class, which in the last two Lok Sabha elections had been the key support base for the BJP, may take the shine away from the Ayodhya-centric euphoria.
While the interests of the poor constituency have been sought to be protected with a strong dose of ‘welfarism’, the middle class, termed aspirational, is seen within the saffron outfit as going mute in expressing support for the party. The party has always tried to link the temple issue with a strong nationalistic Hindutva outlook.(THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS)