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Delaying tactics?

Keeping the temple issue alive


Now that the Narendra Modi regime has come back to power, the one question on everyone’s mind is when will the Ram Mandir be constructed? Will it happen by 2024, i.e. during this second reign? More importantly, the discussion is on how interested is the BJP and RSS in building a new temple at Ayodhya. Obviously, there are no obvious answers to such questions, and most people believe that the Supreme Court will, or possibly will not, decide these vexed questions. However, we can get a few hints and draw inferences from what happened almost two decades ago. When he was the Prime Minister, the late Atal Bihari Vajpayee, tried hard to solve this issue. In fact, he almost succeeded when he convinced the Muslim clergy to agree on a formula that was acceptable to other parties too. Vajpayee then called the leader of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Ashok Singhal, to discuss the plan with RSS Chief KS Sudarshan. At the meeting, Sudarshan seriously asked Singhal, do you know how many Ram temples are there in India? Singhal shook his head, and was informed, approximately 8,000. The message conveyed through this answer was that it really won’t make a difference if another bigger and grander temple was built. Sources contend that Sudarshan further clarified that the Ram Temple in Ayodhya should not be built, but the flame to construct it should remain alive among the masses. For, only then, can it remain the cause of the resurgence of the Hindu movement. Another hint that Sudarshan’s idea is still in vogue can be gauged from a statement made by RSS General Secretary, Bhaiyyaji Joshi. At this year’s Kumbh Mela at Prayagraj (Uttar Pradesh), he claimed, “Ram temple will be constructed in Ayodhya by 2025.” That is, after another government has come to power.

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