Temple pitch may not cut ice, feels Congress

Congress president Rahul Gandhi during an election campaign at Malakhera, Alwar district in Rajasthan, on Tuesday. PTI

As BJP raises the Hindutva pitch in the election campaign, Congress leaders believe such communal issues may not cut any ice with the voters in the poll-bound states.

The BJP and its ideological partners have been trying to raise the Ram Temple by organising a congregation of saints in Delhi and Ayodhya, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray also visited Ayodhya last month and questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the delay in building a grand temple.

The Swadeshi Jagran Manch also tried to revive the Ram Temple movement by organising a Sankalp Yatra in the national capital on Saturday last but the initiative received a lukewarm response.

Congress strategists pointed out that the BJP's attempts to fan communal passions on the Ram temple issue had fizzled out with the meetings of saints in Delhi and Ayodhya eliciting a poor response.

Modi also targeted the Congress for “intimidating” the Supreme Court on the Ram Temple issue by attempting to defer hearings in the decades-old dispute because of the elections before and in 2019.

On October 29, a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court postponed the hearings on the Ayodhya land title suit and other cases till January, a move that prompted the BJP and its affiliates to step up the heat on the Ram Temple the issue.

However, in Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh, local issues such as better prices for farm produce and unemployment dominated the election campaign.

Though there has been a clamour for promulgation of an Ordinance to pave way for construction of a Ram Temple in Ayodhya, the BJP too is circumspect on the issue. It has maintained that the party would wait for the Supreme Court to resume the hearing on the Ayodhya issue next month.

Even ministers in the Modi government doubt that the Ram Temple movement could revive the BJP fortunes ahead of general elections next year.

Union Minister Ramvilas Paswan, in an interview to DH, had said that the Ram temple “will not be that big an issue” in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

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Temple pitch may not cut ice, feels Congress

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