Ram Temple In Ayodhya Case Study

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IS BJP PREPARING TO RAKE UP THE RAM TEMPLE ISSUE WITH AN EYE ON 2017 ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS?
-Sameer Chowgaonkar

The RSS and its affiliate organizations have started resuscitating the issue of Ram Temple in Ayodhya.

The Sangh Parivar had hoped its core issues of Article370, Common Civil Code and Ram Temple would find a new lease of life after Modi was sworn to power. All its prominent leaders believed that the Prime Minister, who had been a RSS pracharak, would support these agendas.

However, Modi chose to stick to the development agenda and sidelined the pet issues of RSS. He went against the Sangh to forge an alliance with PDP in J&K. This has effectively put the issue of abrogation of Article 370 to the backburner, at least for now.
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All it has got in return so far, is the studied silence from Modi.

The last RSS-government coordination committee meeting was held between September 2-4 at Madhyanchal Bhawan in Delhi. The Prime Minister came to attend the last session of the meeting. On the same day, he met with the RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat for around 23 minutes behind the closed doors.

According to sources, Modi made it clear during the meeting that Ram Temple is not his priority and the government wants to remain focused on putting India's development trajectory back on track.

The matter was again discussed at length during the All India Executive Committee meeting of RSS. The meeting took place at Ranchi between October 28-31. The then VHP president Ashok Singhal could not attend it owing to poor health. It is learned that the RSS top brass asked VHP leaders to intensify the Ram Temple agitation in Uttar Pradesh during the meeting.

On November 23, Mohan Bhagwat attended a condolence meeting organized after the demise of Ashok Singhal. He minced no words in declaring that construction of Ram Temple at Ayodhya would be the real tribute to Singhal. Many analysts interpreted this statement as RSS signal to the
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Few days later, he expressed hope that the temple would be constructed during his lifetime. Bhagwat kept the heat on the government through repeated remarks over the issue. Meanwhile, several organizations of Sangh Parivar stepped up the preparations on the ground.

Janmejay Sharan Das, the President of Shri Ram Janmbhoomi Mandir Nirman Nyas at Ayodhya, has been discussing the matter with various stakeholders in recent times. He claims a broad consensus has emerged for the construction of Ram Temple and the work would commence from the beginning of the next year.

According to Das, 17 organizations are part of these negotiations. Many among them like Nirmohi Akhara, Sunni Waqf Board and Hindu Mahasabha are party to the dispute in court. They are close to a final settlement, if Das is to be believed.

But why is there such an urgency in RSS efforts to re-ignite this issue, especially when it is lying pending with the court?

A top BJP leader says it is a well-considered strategy of BJP and RSS. Uttar Pradesh is bound for assembly polls in 2017. After the humiliating defeat in Bihar, the signals emerging from the ground in UP are not encouraging for BJP. Party's internal surveys suggest it is trailing at the third spot after BSP and the ruling

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