In UP, BJP banks on Ram and cow

“There is pressure on Yogi to repeat the victory of 2014. So, he is trying to build his election campaign around the two most emotive religious issues Ram temple and cow,” said Anil Kumar Singh

Photo by Ritesh Shukla/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Photo by Ritesh Shukla/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Sunita Shahi

It is gradually becoming clear that the Bharatiya Janata Party will anchor its 2019 Parliamentary election campaign in Uttar Pradesh completely on Bhagwan Ram and the cow. The agenda of development will remain in the background.

“I have asked the officers of veterinary department to explore how can we arrange two cows for each poor farmer’s family”, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said in Vrindavan on February 11.

Adityanath also gave a brief idea of his concept of development and said, “The use of cow dung cake as cooking fuel should be encouraged to reduce our dependence on LPG. Cows can help in economically sustaining a family in rural areas”, the CM added.

The next day, his deputy Keshav Prasad Maurya said in Lucknow that the BJP government would set up a cow shed in every block of Bundelkhand.

The government has also decided to open a dairy in every jail of the state “because there is no dearth of human resources in the prisons to look after the cows.”

Simultaneously, Ayodhya is once again rife with activities in support of the Ram temple.

The Vishwa Hindu Parishad on February 13 rolled out a Ram Rajya Rath Yatra from Ayodhya to Rameshwaram. Champat Rai, international secretary general of the VHP said on this occasion that the Rath Yatra will muster support for Ram temple.

Yaqub Habeebuddin Tucy, who claims lineage from the first Mughal emperor Babar, is camping in Ayodhya as a representative of Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and issuing statements in support of a Ram temple at the disputed site. Never mind the fact that the Ram Janmbhumi- Babri Masjid case is pending in the Supreme Court.

Tucy appeared ridiculously ignorant of history while promoting the BJP’s agenda of Ram temple and cow.

“Babar had written in his will that his son Humayun would respect the saints of India and protect all the temples and cows. All the Mughal emperors followed this policy”, the Mughal ‘descendant’ claimed on February 14. He continued: “It is wrong that Babar had ordered razing of Ram temple in Ayodhya. Maybe his lieutenants committed a mistake. We can correct it by rebuilding the Ram temple.”

Tucy, who lives in penury in Hyderabad and claims that his DNA has already been matched with the Mughal emperors’, is presently spending a luxurious sojourn in Ayodhya. Some VHP men can be seen around him, taking care of his daily needs.

“There is pressure on Yogi to repeat the victory of 2014 when the BJP had won 71 out of 80 Parliamentary seats in Uttar Pradesh. We believe that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah decided to make Yogi CM of UP only because they thought he could be showcased shamelessly as a face of Hindutva and fundamentalism. Yogi understands this pressure and is trying to build his election campaign around the two most emotive religious issues—Ram temple and cow," said Anil Kumar Singh, an associate professor of Hindi at Saket Degree College, Ayodhya.

“Communal violence in Kasganj during the unauthorised Tiranga Yatra by Sangh Parivar outfits on January 26 is an indication that they can go a step ahead if their agenda of Ram temple and cow didn’t appear to be working for elections," Singh added.

Akhilesh Pratap Singh, spokesperson of UP Congress said, “We don’t need to analyse the ideology of the BJP to understand that they will bank on communal issues to win an election. But the youth have started asking where are the promised jobs. The traders are unhappy over faulty implementation of GST. The farmers are committing suicide because of crop failure. The failures of Modi and Yogi in meeting the expectations of the people will reflect in the results of 2019.”

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