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With UP elections comes Ram
By S Ubaidur Rahman

Babri Masjid issue is hotting up once again with the onset of elections in Uttar Pradesh. The ground is being prepared for the fulfillment of the most prized agenda of the BJP and its mother organizations RSS and the VHP. The agenda that has ensured the sharp rise of BJPís graph and with it that of all its associate organizations.

The announcement that the Ayodhya Cell of their own prime ministerís office will be revived has set the ball rolling. Earlier the announcement made by the prime minister in state capital some time back that the issue will be resolved amicably by the next March had caused many an eyes to blink in disbelief as there was no sign of any reconciliatory actions being taken by any organization. His assertion that the issue was being deliberated by both parties was also poohpoohed as no organization from Muslim community, not even the ones that dance to their masters tunes turned up to stand behind him. It was a surprise announcement by none other than the prime minister of the country.

The construction of the Ram Temple at Ayodhya seems to have been planned well in advance more than a year ago when the Dharam Sansad of the VHP announced to commence temple construction in March 2002. Everything is being followed by the Sangh parties keeping in view the announcement made by the VHP in the Kumbh Mela. The announcement of the VHP sponsored Dharam Sansad was surely made keeping in mind the probable dates for the crucial assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh. The BJP government in UP has been desperate to match the dates of assembly elections in the state with the date announced by the VHP to commence the construction of Ram Temple. It has been so much anxious to extend the dates of assembly elections to early next year that it turned a deaf year to all demands of all political parties to hold elections in the state in October when the period of assembly expires. The mass resignation of the Samajwadi Party Legislators apparently failed to affect the BJP leaders to hold elections in October. The Samajwadi Party was the main opposition party in the state with more than a hundred legislators. The Congress MLAs, following the footsteps of Samjwadi Party have also resigned from the state assembly. Rashtriya Karantikari Party of Kalyan Singh has also resigned form the assembly followed by the BSP. But it is certainly not going to affect the party that has decided to take shelter under the Ram temple plank.

President of UP unit of the BJP and a senior minister in Rajnath Singh government Lal Ji Tandon has announced that his government will not object if the VHP decides to commence construction of a grand Ram temple on the site of Babri Masjid. It was just a day after his admission that the proposal of reviving the Ayodhya cell in the prime ministerís office (PMO) was true and it has been revived. It all directs towards a well planned conspiracy hatched to whip up communal frenzy on the eve of election in the state.

The VHP and its affiliates have claimed that all preparations of the construction of the temple are complete. They say that it will take very short time in erecting a grand temple where Babri Masjid once stood. This correspondent who visited Ayodhya early this year has himself seen the large scale works in Ayodhya. Hundreds of workers were involved in carving of stones and it was apparently clear that most of the work has already been completed. The person who was supervising the work on two workshops (karyashalas) told this correspondent that the work is almost complete and the construction may well begun at any given time.

Several announcements made at different points of time by the Sangh leaders have repeatedly kept emphasizing on the dates of commencement of construction that was announced during the grand Kumbh Mela in Allahabad. The VHP leaders have also repeatedly said that they will not care to wait for the judicial verdict. They have gone to the extent of saying that they will begin the construction even if the court judgment is against them.

Though people are sure that the BJP will not go to the extent of constructing the Ram temple at the Babri site but it will certainly do the needful to vitiate the atmosphere before the election in the state. OP Sharma the senior Supreme Court advocate says that if the Ram temple is constructed on the site of the Babri Masjid their game plan will be foiled as they never intended to construct a temple there. He says that they are just whipping up the sentiments before the elections and will forget the issue till the next election approaches. It is not only he who is of this opinion, but a number of other people have also expressed similar thoughts. Begum Noor Bano a senior Congress leader and Lok Sabha MP expresses similar views. She says that these people are only interested in reaping the political fruits from the Ram temple. She says that issue is apparently being raised at this moment to gather support from a large number of upper caste Hindu votes who have been deserting the party for failing on all fronts. She says that the Congress party has attracted a large number of upper caste Hindu votes who have developed serious dislike for the BJP.

Noor Bano says that the BJP government has faired miserably in all fields. She adds that people have become so much disillusioned with the BJP that even senior leaders fail to attract a respectable crowd to listen to them. She says that graph of crime has risen, crimes against minorities have escalated and the whole state has been dragged into darkness by day long electricity cuts that were never seen in the state.

Afroz Ali Khan a Congress leader and member of UP assembly also echoes the same sentiments. He says that the BJP government in the state has failed on all fronts. He adds that bringing Rajnath Singh in place of Ram Prakash Gupta has not done any good to the BJP, so it is trying to capitalize on the issue that has played crucial role in bringing the BJP to power in the state and the centre.

The preparations of the VHP and other Sangh parties are in full swing. The high pitched speeches delivered at Bharatiya Janata Party Yuva Morcha camp organized in Agra on 13-14 October that was also attended by the prime minister, amply showed how they are preparing for the UP polls.

Ram Chandra Das Pramhans, the president of Ram Janambhoomi Niyas who met the prime minister on 13 October has said that they intended to commence the Ram temple construction on any date after 12 March and has emphasized that as the preparations are complete there is no scope of changing the program. He said that the prime minister has assured him of all possible help on the matter.

Meanwhile the ground work for Ram temple construction is being carried out by the BJP and VHP. Communication and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pramod Mahajan who is known to be a moderate in the BJP recently went to the extent of saying that construction of Ram temple at Ayodhya was an unfulfilled desire of BJP workers. But more important has been the re-induction of Tehelka tainted Defence Minister George Fernandese, who was forced to resign following Tehelka revelations were made public. It is being said that the prime minister apparently decided to re-induct Tehelka tainted Fernandese to face any eventuality that may arise following the BJP decision not to oppose Ram temple construction at Babri Masjid site.

George Fernandes is known for his fire fighting skills in the NDA and has worked effectively in defusing tension within the NDA on several occasions. His recent re-induction is being attributed to the decision of forgetting the NDA agenda and reviewing the much talked about hidden agenda of the BJP.

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