Is Ram taking the center stage ahead of 2019 elections?

During a recent address in Madhya Pradesh, RSS head Mohan Bhagwat hinted at some extensive planning for the construction of Ram Temple, adding that conditions haven’t been “more favourable”

Photo by Sonu Mehta/Hindustan Times via Getty Images
Photo by Sonu Mehta/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

Tasleem Khan

‘Building Ram Temple is not only our wish but it a vow and we will fulfil our vow,” RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat said during an address in Madhya Pradesh’s Chhatarpur on Wednesday, harping back on one of the most divisive issues of Indian polity till date.

“The present conditions are fully conducive to achieve this target,” Bhagwat went on. Like it is often the case, the RSS head’s statement carried two cryptic messages, one for the consumption of the mainstream public and the other for his followers.

In this meeting Bhagwat said, “The people involved in building Ram Temple will have to do something. The basic question is when the Ram Temple would be constructed. We have to prepare ourselves for this purpose.”

What kind of preparations is the RSS chief hinting at after all? The issue of the ownership of piece of land where building the Ram Temple is being mentioned, is pending in the Supreme Court.

Various arguments have been put forward. Mohan Bhagwat does know that. Despite this, referring to the present conditions as most conducive, he said, “The time is ripe for constructing the Ram Temple. Therefore, people building the Ram Temple will have to become like Ram. Only then, this will be possible.”

Mohan Bhagwat does not speak in a straightforward manner on any issue. There were less of direct sentences and more of vague messages during his speech. He said, “It (the issue of Ram Temple) has been pending since 1988. It will be built. But it has not been constructed till now. There are some trivial difficulties. The major difficulty is that people who have to construct the temple will themselves have to become somewhat like Ram. If we pursue this, Lord Ram will also descend on the place soon.”

Hinting at some extensive planning for the Temple, he said, “Ram will be enshrined in the temple at his own birthplace. He will create magnificent surroundings through our hands. There is no reason to doubt that. This and nothing else will happen.”

His remarks were an echo of what he said at Dharma Sansad, attended by over 2,000 sansads, in Karnataka last year.

Bhagwat had said, “There must be no doubt over the construction of Ram Temple. We will construct it. This is not an announcement to lure the public but an issue of our faith. This will never change. Awareness is essential for the temple.”

The RSS sarsangchalak added, “After years of efforts and sacrifice, this (construction of Ram Temple) now seems possible. We are coming closer to achieving our goal, but we should be more careful in this situation. Although the matter is in court for now.”

But on Wednesday, he called for the construction of Ram Temple without mentioning any difficulty.

It is important to note here that when Bhagwat talks about becoming like Ram for the construction of the Temple, he does not clarify which image of Lord Ram he is talking about- Maryadapuroshottam (the most ideal man), or Ram, the Kshatriya king with arms in his hands, ready to attack.

This year, assembly elections will be held in several states, with general elections due next year. So, is Mohan Bhagwat bringing up the Ram Temple, with the upcoming elections on mind? Is he preparing the RSS volunteers for an eventuality?

The statement by the RSS chief becomes all the more important, considering it wields significant clout on the government at Centre.

This statement by Mohan Bhagwat not only hints at the thought process going on at present within the RSS, but is also a reflection of the inner discourse of the BJP regarding upcoming elections. It makes it rather clear why Ram is making a comeback in the lead-up to elections, after the constant bragging of ‘development’ and various jumlas stands rather exposed.

(Translated into English by Pragati Saxena)

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