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BJP to revive Ayodhya as election issue
By Obaid Nasir, Lucknow

Situation is back to square one. Seeing all its gimmicks failing to garner public support in forthcoming assembly elections the BJP think tank has decided once again to play the Ayodhya card and go back to RSS to get its boat sail through. On the other hand Chief Minister Rajnath Singh is busy in his please-all mission, giving little thought to the consequences the state will have to face because of the utter financial mismanagement, loot of the state exchequer by the members of jumbo size ministry, heavy unproductive expenses and a Himalayan salary bill of the state staff. Most of them are angry with the govt. for delay in implementing the fifth pay panel recommendations and paying arrears according to it.

According to reliable sources the intelligence sleuths have informed the Chief Minister that if elections are held today it will not be possible to get even 100 seats in the assembly. This has unnerved the BJP leadership since a defeat in its strong-hold and that too in a state where Ayodhya dispute helped saffron brigade to fulfill its dream of occupying power will send a wrong message and Vajpayee’s image of a vote catcher will come under clouds as already it has shown worst possible result in just concluded assembly elections.

This is precisely because of these facts in mind that the BJP leadership has deputed its former national President to look after the party affairs in this politically sensitive and important state. This rather unprecedented decision has been taken to ensure better co-ordination between RSS workers, party (BJP) workers and state machinery. BJP sources say that the rather unusual step of appointing a former president the in-charge of one state has been taken keeping in mind the seriousness of the situation. Like a roadside goonda it challenged the Congress to face it in UP. Though Congress is not in a position to seriously challenge BJP here, but the saffron brigade is jittery of the consequences and is adopting every trick to retain its hold over this sensitive and important state, whose assembly election results will decide the fate of Vajpayee government also. For retaining power in this important state the BJP has adopted many "wonderful" means and is not ready to leave it so easily.

It has done one more wonder by extending the term of the house for six months (from October 2001 to March 2002) and there is nothing to wonder. The party that blatantly engineered defection from all the parties by allegedly offering heavy sums (some put it up to 20 lakhs per member) entered into alliance with these defectors, provided them ministerial berths and open permission to loot the state exchequer and protection from legal actions against all their misdeeds can hardly be expected to play game according to rules .The matter of extending the term is however under the consideration of the High Court but the delay in judgement is helping the BJP and it is using every moment in office to increase its political fortune. So are its ministers .

But the tussle for power among four senior party leaders is hampering its political prospects. Chief Minister Rajnath Singh (Thakur),Party Chief Kalraj Misra (Brahmin), PWD, Irrigation and Higher Education Minister Om Prakash Singh (Backward) never see eye to eye. In between, Urban Development Minister Lalji Tandon (Baniya) also plays his own game. Though his political standing is confined to a pocket in old Lucknow his real strength is his proximity to Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. However his only interest lies in illegally occupying the Muslim Wakf lands and installing statues at every conceivable place in Lucknow.

It was because of this tussle that the party not only lost the seat in Shahjahanpur but stood fourth. It is alleged that Kalraj Misra and Tourism Minister Ashok Yadav transferred their votes to Samajvadi Party in order to teach Rajnath Singh a lesson.

Kalraj Misra is senior to Rajnath Singh and has missed bus a number of times due to political expediency of the party . He swallowed all of them but Rajnath Singh’s elevation to the coveted post has not only further annoyed him but the Brahmin community too is not taking it very well and can play a spoil sport in absence of any emotional issue. Keeping all these facts in mind the Sangh Parivar has decided to go back to its time tested plank of Ram Mandir.

It is not a mere coincidence but a well drafted strategy that the so-called 'Dharma Sansad' ('religious parliament') had set a deadline of March 2002 (Mahashivratri according to Hindu calendar) to start the construction of the Ram temple. It will provide the much needed emotional issue to BJP to sail through. 

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