Why BJP faces a drubbing at Ayodhya despite all its efforts to showcase Ram Mandir issue
People of Ayodhya are said to be deeply unhappy with “misrule” of Yogi government and an anti-BJP caste combination is getting consolidated in favour of the Samajwadi Party’s candidate
In Lord Ram’s mythical birthplace Ayodhya – where elections are scheduled to be held on February 27 as part of the ongoing assembly polls – members of the Supreme Court mandated Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra are canvassing for the BJP, NH has learned.
The reason for this is that inputs received from the temple city suggest that the BJP – which has not lost any poll from the Ayodhya sadar constituency since 1991 other than in 2012 when the SP emerged victorious – is facing a drubbing this time.
Therefore, in a last ditch effort to retain the seat, the saffron party has tasked the Trust members to seek votes in the name of ‘Ram ki Izzat’ (In the name of Ram’s pride), said a native of Ayodhya.
Several teams have been formed to assist the BJP candidate, Ved Prakash Gupta, who had defeated SP candidate Pawan Pandey in 2017.
Pandey, according to the residents of Ayodhya, may wrest the seat this time as people are deeply unhappy with the “misrule” of the Yogi government and an anti-BJP caste combination is getting consolidated in favor of Pandey.
OP Singh, who works at Ram Manohar Lohia Avadh University, said that a team of medical representatives comprising 30-40 people has been deployed to seek votes for the BJP under the leadership of Trust’s member Dr Anil Mishra. “The Trust team campaigning for the BJP is distributing prasad and asking people to sign a sapath patra (oath) to ensure the victory of BJP,” he added.
The oath reads: “Jo Ram ko lekar aaye hain, hum unko lekar aayenge”.
Though some feel that members of the Trust cannot campaign for a political party, legal experts say there is no such bar. A lawyer who did not wish to be named said, “This may invoke moral question, not legal.”
Another resident of Ayodhya, talking to NH, used a metaphor to explain the situation. “People have realized that Ram is a net which BJP uses to catch fish in the time of polls,” he said.
“People of Ayodhya gave power to the BJP but they got nothing other than neglect and a Hindutva tag over the last few decades,” Singh said.
He opined that despite the fact that a grand Ram temple is under construction, various sections of Hindu society are not satisfied with the ruling party.
It is worth mentioning here that put together, Muslims, Brahmins, and Yadavs form almost 50 percent of the electorate in this constituency.
According to Singh, Baniyas (trader community) are not happy because their shops were demolished when work for the road expansion begun.
“They were not given proper compensation. They were already facing economic woes due to the Coronavirus pandemic and lockdown. Demolition has rubbed salt in their wounds,” added Singh.
Brahmins who have been very vocal against ‘Thakurwaad’ of Yogi government have decided to teach a lesson to Yogi Adityanath who belongs to the Thakur community, claimed many.
Last month, on January 14, a powerful body of Brahmins called ‘Chanakya Parishad’ had given a clarion call not to vote for the BJP.
Though the Parishad, which is said to have considerable sway over the community, did not name the BJP, it said Brahmins will vote for those who work for the community.
Another reason for Brahmin’s disenchantment with the BJP is, as per the local people, the forceful acquisition of land belonging to Brahmins for the airport.
“Brahmins villages were acquired by the authorities. But they were not given proper compensation,” said a member of the Chanakya Parishad.
Traditionally strong supporters of the BJP, Brahmins, who number around 50,000 in the constituency, will desert the BJP this time, said a UP watcher.
Ayodhya, one of the largest seats in terms of population, has around 50,000 Muslims and 40,000 Yadav votes. Needless to say, Muslims and Yadavs are up against the BJP in the polls this time.
Ayodhya, before the Ram Janmabhoomi Andolan culminated into the demolition of Babri Masjid, was the epicenter of Congress-Socialist politics till 1991.
“However, after Babri demolition, BJP made inroads and won elections but this time, its task is very difficult,” said a journalist
Incidentally, earlier it was being bandied about that UP CM Yogi Adityanath will contest from Ayodhya, but he eventually settled for his pocket borough Gorakhpur – another assembly seat of religious importance.
Many reasons were cited behind his sudden shift, but Ayodhya’s people claimed that the central leadership of BJP – which invariably means Modi-Shah duo – did not want Yogi to take claim for the Ram Mandir and secondly, Yogi himself was not confident of victory from the seat.