By Deepak Kumar Rath
On April 6, the 25th Foundation Day of the BJP, L.K. Advani, Deputy Prime Minister, reached Ayodhya. He said that the construction of a magnificent temple over there will begin shortly after the polls. He clarified that the Ayodhya tangle would be solved ?without bitterness, without tension and without struggle.? He believes that ?a negotiated settlement will be the most desirable way to resolve the Ayodhya issue. We have already made quite some progress and are confident that we will be able to reach an agreement involving Hindu and Muslim representatives.?
He added that goodwill, reconciliation and mutual trust are the keys to a negotiated settlement.
Advani began his day by offering puja and had a special darshan in Hanuman Garhi and the makeshift temple where Ram Lalla is installed. While replying to a question about his reaction on visiting the spot, he said, ?I want to see a magnificent temple here.? He added that the urge for a Ram Janmabhoomi temple united Hindus and the fruition of that dream will bring all Indians together. ?The Ram temple in Ayodhya will be a vibrant symbol of a strong, prosperous and harmonious India.?
After attending the massive rally at Lucknow where the Prime Minister greeted him, Advani'syatra reached the temple-town of Ayodhya. Thousands of people standing on both sides of the roads greeted Advani by chanting Jai Shri Ram. In Faizabad, Advani addressed a well-attended meeting with the promise of building a magnificent temple in Ramjanmabhoomi. ?This election is not a normal Lok Sabha election for merely choosing an MP but it is for voting a PM to build a new powerful India (Yeh chunav kevalmatra Lok Sabha chunav nehi hain, yeh ek naya Bharat banane ka hein).? He said that the election would be fought by the BJP on the issues of development, good governance and leadership and urged the people to vote for Laloo Singh who is the party candidate from Faizabad.
Kalyan Singh, senior leader of the Uttar Pradesh BJP, also accompanied Advani and urged the people to keep the tradition of electing the BJP candidate from Ram Nagari, Ayodhya (Faizabad).
After visiting Ram Lalla in Ayodhya, Advani told the media, ?The sentiments of millions of Hindus are tied to the construction of a grand temple to Lord Rama at his birthplace in Ayodhya; the BJP remains committed to it as is made clear in the Vision Document.?
For the BJP, Advani said that participation in the Ram Janmabhoomi movement was not prompted by religiosity. ?We were angered by the duplicity and double standards of the then Congress government and used the occasion to initiate a much-needed debate on secularism in India.?
He hoped that the BJP'srelentless assault on pseudo-secularism would provide the much-needed corrective, and set the ground rules for an even-handed approach to issues affecting religious communities. He stressed the fact that ?the Ayodhya movement proved a very effective antidote to attempts to fragment Hindu society along antagonistic caste lines…
?To Hindus, Lord Rama is more than an epic hero and a God. He epitomises the ideals of a perfect ruler… I have often used Ramarajya to describe our goal of making India a developed economy and a world power by 2020.?
After travelling though parliamentary constituencies of Uttar Pradesh like Mainpuri, Etawah, Ghatampur, Kanpur, Lucknow, Faizabad and Gorakhpur, Advani said that the BJP tally in the General Election would rise significantly. ?From all indications,? he said, ?the Congress has ceased to be a major factor in Uttar Pradesh and the main contest in the state would be between the BJP on one hand, and the SP or BSP on the other.? While criticising the opponents in UP, he said that apart from mobilising along sectarian lines, ?our Opposition in UP has no programme.? He said that the Congress has lost relevance in large states like UP and Bihar. ?Likewise, the erstwhile Third Front parties have no relevance at the national level and BJP'sprincipal opponents in UP have developed a vested interest in political uncertainty because that is the only way they can be relevant.?
Advani in Ayodhya