On August 5, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi participates in the ground-breaking of the Ram Temple at Ayodhya, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) workers in Maharashtra will celebrate the day with lights and sweets like a Diwali day. In an attempt to gain political capital from the bhoomipoojan of one of ambitious projects of political Hindutva, the BJP’s state unit has asked the party faithful to mark the occasion with celebrations.
The announcement was made by BJP general secretary (organization) Vijay Puranik in the during a virtual meeting between newly-appointed office bearers in Maharashtra and national president J.P Nadda on Monday. Puranik asked party workers to distribute sweets and light up their homes while observing all social distancing norms and deploying preventive tools like masks and sanitisers considering the ongoing Corona pandemic.
“We will enthusiastically mark this day for its significance… this occasion has arrived after 500 years of struggle (for Hindus). So, it is but natural that everyone will be happy and content. Many have struggled to see the temple of Lord Ram being constructed at the site, and have also laid down their lives for it,” said BJP legislator and state general secretary Sujitsinh Thakur.
He however denied that the BJP was trying to politicise the issue. “There is no issue of using the issue for political gain,” added Thakur, pointing to how the temple of Lord Shiva at Somnath in Gujarat was reconstructed at the initiative of the Central government in the 1950s.
The temple, which is revered as a Jyotirling, was destroyed by Muhammed of Ghazni in the 11th century as part of multiple attacks on the shrine.
Mir Baqi, a general of Mughal emperor Babar, is said to have destroyed a temple of Lord Ram, at what is venerated as his birthplace in Ayodhya in 1528, to construct the Babri masjid. The mosque was pulled down in by kar sevaks in 1992, leading to communal conflagrations across India.
In November 2019, in a landmark order, a five-judge Supreme Court (SC) constitutional bench had ruled in favour of granting the disputed site at Ayodhya to a government-controlled trust for the construction of the temple for Lord Ram. The Muslims will be given a five-acre plot at a different location.