RSS rides on Yogi, Vikas takes back seat to Ram

The RSS has decided to ride on the back of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath en route to the Ram temple. Having been positioned in this pivotal role in the runup to the general election, Adityanath on Sunday asserted that wishes of scores of Hindu devotees of building a Ram Temple will come true after Diwali. With Yogi becoming the face of this shift in the political discourse, it seems the plank of development will also take a backseat in the 2019 election.

It is not just a coincidence that Yogi accompanied Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh when the latter filed his nomination papers. In Karnataka assembly election, too, he was hyped as the party mascot. Speaking at an event in Bikaner on Sunday, the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister unequivocally said, “Light a Diya for Lord Ram this time, the work in Ayodhya will start very soon. We have to take this up after Diwali.”

Clearly, he is treating the Ram temple as a fait accompli — a thing that has been decided before those affected hear about it, leaving the court and the government with no option but to accept it. In sync with Yogi’s resolve, a hashtag “Jalao ek diya Ram Mandir ke naam ka”, has been started on social media to depict “the faith of pilgrims and worshippers”, his party colleague and  Union minister Vijay Goel said.

Sources said one possibility is that a ‘bhumipujan’ will be announced close to Diwali; the other possibility is that a Lord Ram statue will become the new raison d’être – an honourable substitute, until, of course, the decks are legally cleared for a Ram temple.

The buzz is that the statue is likely to be built near the Sarayu River in Ayodhya; also, it will be taller than the recently inaugurated 182-meter tall statues of Sardar Vallabhai Patel. It is again not a coincidence that Yogi specially flew to Gujarat to look up the Patel statue, the day after the PM had unveiled it. So, these are the twin strands of the 2019 BJP poll strategy – Temple and Vikas.

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