EDITORIAL | Ayodhya: A worrying time for the nation

EDITORIAL | Ayodhya: A worrying time for the nation

The Ayodhya pitch is deliberately being raised in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections by the BJP, other organisations of the Sangh Parivar and individuals associated with it. The campaign is led by the RSS itself, which has launched a rath yatra for early construction of a Ram temple at the disputed site. RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat has reiterated his demand for a law for it and said that the organisation is unwilling to wait any longer. Other events are being held in various places, warnings and threats are being issued, plans are being laid and schedules are being drawn up. The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) held a Dharma Sabha in Ayodhya last week claiming that it is the “last effort’’ for temple construction and issuing an ultimatum for it. It was announced that the date will be announced during the Kumbh Mela next month. 

Read also: Thousands attend VHP's 'Dharam Sabha' at Ayodhya

One worrying aspect of the campaign is that there is a bid to put pressure on the Supreme Court in the matter. The dispute is before the court, which will fix a date for hearing in January. But there are calls and statements which seek to make the decision of the court irrelevant. Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself made a very unbecoming statement that the Congress had scared Supreme Court judges with the threat of impeachment to ensure that there is no early judgement. It is a poor comment on the apex court from the head of the government, and shows how keenly the government wants an early judgement. Many BJP leaders have also signalled that an unfavourable decision from the court would not be acceptable. Though BJP president Amit Shah has said that the party would wait for the hearing in January, he has not said that it would accept the judgement. Shah had last month said that courts should not issue “unimplementable” orders. 

Also read: Ayodhya to witness yet another congregation

The demand for a law to enable the construction of the temple is being pushed in this context. The BJP’s Rajya Sabha MP Rakesh Sinha and Lok Sabha MP Prahlad Joshi have said that they would introduce separate private member’s bills in the winter session of parliament for temple construction. If not a law, there is a demand for an ordinance in the matter. It should be noted that the possibility of an ordinance has not been denied by the government. An ordinance on an issue under consideration of the court would be illegal, but the intention is to stir up politics and polarise society by bringing the temple issue to the forefront, and to use it for electoral gains. The mobilisation and the rabble-rousing are therefore set to rise in the coming days. It’s a worrying time for the nation.