Adityanath Takes Ownership of Ram Temple Agenda
THE CITIZEN BUREAU
LUCKNOW: “Ramlala hum ayenge Mandir wahin banayenge” reverberated through Ayodhya after more than a decade as Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath visited not just Ayodhya but the makeshift temple on the site where the Babri Masjid was demolished on December 6,1992.
This was the aggressive cry by the mobs who brought down the mosque, and was last heard in Ayodhya in 2002 when the Vishwa Hindu Parishad had sought to revive the issue with a ‘shiladan’ in early 2002. And the Chief Minister, with his visit, made it clear that the issue was back on top of his and the state’s agenda.
Adityanath’s visit came on the heels of a special CBI court ruling charging senior BJP leaders L K Advani, M M Joshi and Uma Bharti along with nine others with criminal conspiracy in the 1992 Babri mosque demolition case .The charges were framed against Advani (89), Joshi (83), Bharti (58), BJP MP Vinay Katiyar (62), VHP's Vishnu Hari Dalmiya (89) and one-time Hindutva firebrand Sadhvi Rithambara (53) -- all of whom appeared before the court. All six were granted bail by CBI special judge S K Yadav on a personal bond of Rs 50,000 each. The CBI had opposed their bail plea.
Significantly, in a gesture that has not gone unnoticed Adityanath waited at the guest house to meet with LK Advani, and left after a closed door conversation with the BJP patriarch. The meeting fed into widespread speculation that the CM was delving into BJP politics by cosying up to Advani, whose differences with Prime Minister Narendra Modi are well know. This was all the more noticeable given the relative silence from the RSS and the BJP on this issue, with the former deputy prime minister and senior ministers of the Vajpayee government being paraded before the special court that had refused to exempt them from a personal appearance. In fact the CMs solace as it were must have meant a lot to Advani, cast out into the shadows by the current dispensation at the centre, despite his contribution to the phenomenal growth of the BJP.
Adityanath who has been driving a muscular agenda, also earned the dubious distinction of being the first Chief Minister to offer prayers at the makeshift temple that had come up at the site, after the mosque was demolished by the mobs, and while then Prime Minister Narasimha Rao sat like the proverbial Nero fiddling, before moving many hours later to bring the situation and the site under some sort of control. Since then, as per court rulings the site has remained under heavy security with devotees allowed to pray at the makeshift temple in controlled numbers, and security searches. Earlier BJP chief ministers including the infamous Kalyan Singh have visited Ayodhya town, but kept away from the site.
Adityanath clearly showed no such reticence, and in a speech at Ayodhya said, "I am well aware of your sentiments (construction of grand Ram temple). I know what you want to hear from me. I am of the same opinion as you are. The dispute around Ramjanambhoomi would be resolved through dialogue between both the communities. Supreme Court has also suggested a dialogue between the two communities. The Uttar Pradesh government will always be there for such an initiative. A new and positive environment for talks is building. Several Muslim organisations have come up appealing that Ayodhya should be left to Hindus. Many more organisations are expected to come up with a similar opinion. Take my word that Ramjanambhoomi issue would be resolved amicably." His last words were “Jai Sri Ram” a phrase incidentally, rarely heard from PM Modi or BJP President Amit Shah.
The last three lines of the speech reproduced above spell out the current position of the UP government, whereby Adityanath makes it clear that one, the temple will be built and two, Muslim organisations are expected to ensure that Ayodhya is left to the Hindus, and do not continue the dispute further. His visit to Ayodhya made this clear from the moment he landed, bringing the temple issue back on to the front burner. Sources claim that he has taken the issue away from the more reticent Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and is catering directly to the hardline Hindutva constituency that bridges what some see as the RSS and Hindu Yuva Vahini divide. Despite differences of organisation all the right wing outfits circulating in UP are totally agreed about the need to build the Ram Mandir at Ayodhya. CM Adityanath has now positioned himself as the one leader who will ensure this.
Adityanath’s visit was productive in that he addressed the longstanding grievances of the temple town with a Rs 350 crore for development works. Spiritual progams were finalised, with Adityanath combing his twin roles of CM and head of Goraknath matt that he emphasised when he said that he felt like a “sant” while in Ayodhya. It might be recalled that Adityanath and his well known mentor Mahant Avaidyanath have been committed to building the temple in Ayodhya. The latter played a crucial role during the Ramjanambhoomi movement, of which Advani was the political leader, as the head of the priests conglomerate known then as the Ram Janambhoomi Nyas.