Lucknow: Even before the BJP could savour its landslide victory in Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls, the party is wasting no time in assuaging concerns regarding its most controversial poll promise- the Ram Mandir.
From exit polls to the early trends, observers and media handed the party a clear majority, but the huge margin has surprised many, including leaders of the party itself.
But now that the party offices across the state are celebrating, the BJP top brass is time and again affirming that Ram Mandir is no longer relevant as a poll agenda, and is a thing of the past.
Speaking to television channels, Union Minister and BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad attributed the party’s success to the ‘desire for development’ among UP’s youth. In a clear acknowledgment that the party has grown beyond the Ram temple issue, he said, “We have surpassed even the Ram wave…the kind of hope, the kind of trust Modiji has generated.”
Echoing his views, Union Minister of Water Resources, Uma Bharti, and state party chief and CM aspirant K P Maurya also indicated that Ram temple was no longer the main agenda of the party.
Responding to a question if the Ram Mandir agenda would be brought back, Bharti said, “There is no need to be concerned. Polarisation on religion and caste is not possible any more. Rahul and Akhilesh could not do it. The Ram temple issue is not a divisive issue. Modiji will find a solution that everyone will like.” She also reaffirmed that the issue could be resolved by both Hindus and Muslims.
Speaking to the media, KP Maurya said, “Ayodhya Ram Temple construction will be only on the basis of what the SC says. The matter is sub-judice. It is in SC. So will not take any step for construction.”
He also said that the party got a huge mandate due to its pro-poor measures, and the development plank on which it fought the elections.
Addressing a press conference, BJP chief Amit Shah also side-stepped a question on the issue saying, “Our idea on Ram temple is written in our manifesto. You can read it there.”
The party’s fire brand leader MP Yogi Adityanath also attributed the party’s success to the extensive development work undertaken by the Prime Minister.
Even in the run-up to the polls, during extensive campaigns, there was not much mention of the mandir, barring from a few stray leaders. The issue only found a passing reference in the manifesto. BJP’s classic slogan, ‘Mandir wahi Banayenge’ was also conspicuously played down, perhaps taking notes from the nose-drubbing the party suffered in Bihar last year.
But what remains to be seen is the whether BJP will actually live up to the development plank it fought the elections on.