Ram temple loses political relevance

For people in the temple town, the Ram mandir issue, once the political dynamite that triggered clashes both in Uttar Pradesh and elsewhere, is no longer an important one. 

While the elderly, including the “dharmacharyas” (religious heads), who had been witness to the Ram temple movement and the demolition of the disputed structure, are frustrated about the politicisation of the issue, the younger ones are too preoccupied with careers and jobs to care about it. Those behind the movement, however, continue to believe that it is “still alive”, saying that it would “surface” at the “appropriate time” and “place”. 

“At the moment Ram Temple is not an issue in the ongoing Lok Sabha polls but it is present within the hearts of the people,” said Gyan Das, a widely respected saint and the Mahant of the famous Hanumangarhi temple in Ayodhya.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, the mahant admitted that attempts in some quarters to politicise the issue has made it more difficult to solve. “The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) does not want the issue to be resolved through mutual dialogue,” he said.

“We did make an attempt to resolve the matter out of court....the Muslim side had also agreed to the discussion...I had persuaded the Muslim petitioner to sit and talk, but the VHP played spoilsport,” Gyan Das claimed.

The Muslim petitioner in the Ram Janambhoomi-Babri Masjid Title suits, Mohammed Hashim Ansari, concurs. “Politics is being played over the issue,” he said.

VHP central secretary Rajendra Singh Pankaj said that the issue will “never die”. 

“It is connected with our internal feelings and will surface at the right time and place,” Pankaj said. 

Seventy-year-old Rama Shankar Shukla blames “political interference” for the inability to find a permanent solution to the issue. “We are fed up with the delay (in solving the temple issue),” he said. 

With barely a few days to go for polling, the temple issue is conspicuous by its absence in the political speeches of candidates here.

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