Mumbai: As the politics of Ram Mandir unfolds, the BJP is playing to the gallery. On one hand, the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath, wants to be perceived as a tough administrator who is in complete control of the situation. On the other hand, anticipating trouble from an unlikely quarter — the Shiv Sena — he has clamped Section 144 to prevent any untoward incident.

There is a good reason to apprehend trouble – Uddhav Thackeray’s impending visit. Not just that. Special trains from Thane, Mumbai and Nashik are ferrying Sainiks in droves to Ayodhya. In fact, the surge in traffic has sent Lucknow airfares through the roof — a one-way ticket to Lucknow from Mumbai costs Rs 22,000.

All the dharamshalas (guest houses belonging to religious and temple trusts) in Ayodhya and adjoining areas have been booked. Uddhav and other Sena senior leaders will, of course, wallow in luxury at five-star Lucknow hotels, from where they will travel by road to Ayodhya.

Several Members of Parliament, ministers, legislators and corporators from the state are UP bound. Some of them are camping in Ayodhya for the last two days. MPs Sanjay Raut and Vinayak Raut, MLAs Eknath Shinde, Sunil Prabhu, Mangesh Sangle and Pratap Sarnaik are among those who have arrived.

The logistics of transportation and other arrangements are being supervised from Sena Bhavan, Dadar. Sources said Uddhav will fly to Lucknow on November 24 and then proceed to Ayodhya by road. Most of the Sena cadres have told to make their own arrangements for lodging and boarding.

Manisha Kayande, Sena spokesperson said, women and Yuva cadres have been asked to stay away for security reasons. “There could be security issues. It is also a problem obtaining decent accommodation in Lucknow and Ayodhya. Those Sena workers and leaders who are not going to Ayodhya have been asked to perform maha-aartis at the nearest big temple in Maharashtra, on November 25,” Kayande said.

On Thursday evening, two special trains left Mumbai for Ayodhya. Naresh Mhaske, senior Sena leader from Thane, said, “Each train with a seating capacity of 1,400 passengers was flagged off from Thane on Thursday evening. Some Sainiks left on Tuesday, with Eknath Shinde, while other leaders and Sainiks will leave on Friday morning,” Mhaske said. “This is not to show our strength, but to fulfil the dream of our party founder, Balasaheb Thackeray, to build the Ram temple at Ayodhya,” he explained.The Sena has set up war rooms to keep tab on its workers and leaders. “We will keep a tab on every Sainik, to ensure that everyone returns safely,” said Mhaske.

‘Only Brahmins can talk about Hinduism’
Claiming that it is only the Brahmins who are learned and competent to speak on the Hindu religion, Congress leader CP Joshi has questioned how PM Modi and Uma Bharti are going on incessantly about Hinduism, even though they belong to different castes. “If anyone is qualified to speak on religion it is the Pandits, the intellectuals and the Brahmins. There is a weird trend in the country where people from different castes are speaking on Hinduism.

Uma Bharti, who belongs to the Lodi samaj, is talking about it. Sadhvi ji also belongs to a different denomination and is talking about Hindu religion. So, is Narendra Modi.’’ CP Joshi is the Brahmin face of the Congress party in Rajasthan. Just a day before, Joshi had claimed that only a Congress prime minister will have the will to build the Ram temple in Ayodhya.