Beyond bricks and mortar: Decoding the BJP’s political alchemy with the Ram Mandir for 2024

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By Mohd Ziyaullah Khan

Following the victories in the assembly polls in Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, and Madhya Pradesh, the BJP is now aiming for an “unprecedented majority” in the upcoming 2024 Lok Sabha elections. In a recent meeting, senior BJP leaders, including Amit Shah and PM Narendra Modi, devised key strategies for the elections. However, one point that remains relevant and workable is the element of Hindutva, which the party has managed to play safe and even kept parked for the upcoming 2024 general elections. One of the ways in which the ruling party is exploiting the religious sentiments of the voters is through the Ram Mandir inauguration event, scheduled in the coming weeks. On the other hand, the Congress, in particular, has shunned the invitation, calling it a BJP event. It is interesting to see how the BJP is leaving no stone unturned to keep the ball rolling on Hindutva and tarnish the image of the Opposition in the name of religion.

The 22nd January Event

The event scheduled for January 22, organised by the Ram Janmabhoomi Trust, has extended invitations to dignitaries such as Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sarsanghchalak Mohan Bhagwat, Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel, State Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, and Trust Chief Mahant Nritya Gopal Das, who will serve as Chief Guests.

Earlier this week, reports emerged regarding the Bharatiya Janata Party’s elaborate plans to facilitate the visit of thousands of pilgrims to the temple city from January 25 onwards. These plans encompass a series of special trains, with party workers offering ground support to those eager to embark on the journey and pay their respects at the newly constructed Ram Temple.

As the nation approaches the upcoming summer elections, the BJP aims to solidify its leading position by emphasising its unwavering commitment to ideological principles. Notably, the party has successfully addressed two major issues: the construction of the Ram Temple and the removal of Article 370. The completion of the Ram Temple stands out as a significant achievement, marking the fulfilment of a longstanding promise reiterated in successive BJP election manifestos. With these milestones accomplished, the party’s focus now shifts to the remaining task: the implementation of the Uniform Civil Code.

BJP Targeting the Opposition

As soon as the opposition, particularly the Congress, refused to accept the invitation, the BJP launched an offensive against Opposition leaders as they declined to attend the consecration of the Ayodhya Ram temple, branding them as “Anti-Sanatan” (anti-Hindu). In addition to Congress’s Sonia Gandhi and Mallikarjun Kharge, who rejected the January 22 ceremony invite, a BJP social media poster showcased others showing lukewarm interest in the event.

Via its platform on X (formerly Twitter), the BJP posted, “Note the faces of the Sanatan opponents who rejected the invitation for the Ram Mandir Pran Pratishtha ceremony…”.

Senior Congress leaders Mallikarjun Kharge, Sonia Gandhi, and Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, upon receiving the invitation for the January 22 ceremony, declined, citing it as a “political project” of the BJP and its ideological mentor Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.

The Congress asserted that religion is a personal matter but accused the RSS/BJP of turning the temple in Ayodhya into a political project for electoral gains.

Left leaders had already conveyed a negative response, while the Trinamool Congress explicitly stated they would skip the event. The Samajwadi Party remains undecided, with some MLAs expressing a keen interest in attending despite Vishwa Hindu Parishad invitations being turned down.

Since the refusals emerged, BJP leaders have criticised the Congress, adding to the party’s existing accusations of being anti-national. Nalin Kohli, BJP spokesperson, highlighted that the Congress’s official decline of the invite was expected.

Accusing the Congress of neglecting the Ayodhya temple, Kohli stated, “This is nothing new for those who called Lord Ram imaginary. In 2024, the Congress that has boycotted Lord Ram will be boycotted by the people,” as asserted by Union Minister Anurag Thakur.

Other leaders pointed out the Congress’s history of boycotting significant events, linking it to their opposition to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, including boycotting the inauguration of the new Parliament building, GST enactment, and presidential addresses to Parliament by Ram Nath Kovind and Droupadi Murmu.

The Final Word

Over the past decade, the political dynamics in the country have experienced a transformation. The BJP is now strategically positioned to secure the return of Modi Sarkar for a third consecutive term. This outcome would parallel the achievement of India’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, who secured three consecutive terms since the 1951 general elections. PM Modi continues to serve as the focal point around which the BJP’s campaign revolves. The party aims to showcase its accomplishments in fulfilling ideological, political, and economic commitments while elevating the nation’s prestige on the global stage. Additionally, the campaign will present a comprehensive roadmap for the future during the Amrit Kaal.

(Mohd Ziyauallah Khan is a freelance content writer based in Nagpur.)

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Disclaimer: Beyond bricks and mortar: Decoding the BJP’s political alchemy with the Ram Mandir for 2024 - Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect point-of-view

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