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Lok Sabha Elections 2024: Opinions divided among voters over Bhojshala dispute's impact on MP's Dhar

As per an ASI order issued on April 7, 2003, Hindus are allowed to worship inside the Bhojshala complex every Tuesday, while Muslims are allowed to offer namaz at the site on Fridays.
Last Updated : 27 April 2024, 10:16 IST
Last Updated : 27 April 2024, 10:16 IST

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Dhar: The people of Dhar Lok Sabha seat in Madhya Pradesh are divided on how the Bhojshala-Kamal Maula mosque dispute will play out in the polls, with a section believing it will give an advantage to one side, while another claimed factors like employment etc will take centre-stage.

The Bhojshala-Kamal Maula Mosque is a medieval-era monument that Hindus claim is a temple of Goddess Vagdevi (Saraswati), while the Muslims say it is a centuries-old mosque.

On March 11 this year, the MP High Court had directed the Archaeological Survey of India to carry out a scientific survey of the structure, which has been under way since March 22.

As per an ASI order issued on April 7, 2003, Hindus are allowed to worship inside the Bhojshala complex every Tuesday, while Muslims are allowed to offer namaz at the site on Fridays.

The scientific survey was ordered after an organization named 'Hindu Front for Justice' challenged this arrangement in the Indore bench of MP HC.

Polls in Dhar Lok Sabha seat, which is reserved for Scheduled Tribes, will be held on May 13, while votes will be counted on June 4.

"For us, the Bhojshala is not an election issue but one that pertains to our culture. We want peaceful solution to the Bhojshala dispute like the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid issue in Ayodhya," local resident Anju Mittal told PTI on Saturday.

Azhar Khan, another resident of Dhar, too claimed the issue will not play a role in the polls, adding that he wanted the focus to be on development of the region.

"We want brotherhood to remain in our city," Khan emphasised.

However, shopkeeper Nuru Qureshi differed from Mittal and Khan and said the issue will be a decisive factor in the Lok Sabha polls and will give advantage to one side.

Qureshi, who says he holds a 'Master of Social Work' degree, added that migrants of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and some other states are taking up jobs in units in the Pithampur industrial belt of Dhar, while youngsters from the area are unemployed.

Archana Bansal, whose family runs a business, said proposed railway projects in Dhar will be the main poll issue since they will lead to development in this tribal pocket of the state.

"The Bhojshala dispute is also an important election issue. It will affect the electoral equation," she added.

The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party has held this seat since 2014, while the Congress won it in 2009 and several times in the 1980s and 90s.

An ASI application in the HC seeking 8-week extension to complete the survey of the structure will be heard on April 29.

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Published 27 April 2024, 10:16 IST

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