Prime Minister Narendra Modi (Photo Source: @BJP4India)
After the overwhelming success of his much sought-after Varanasi roadshow, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address a rally in Ayodhya on May 1, days ahead of the fifth phase of Lok Sabha elections on May 6. The holy town, which is considered to be the birth place of Lord Rama, has been central to the BJP and its Hindutva affiliates' agitation for a Ram temple.
According to the BJP leaders, the rally, which will take place in Maya Bazaar, an area just outside Ayodhya town and 25 km from the site of the temple-mosque dispute, is part of Modi's campaign for the Lok Sabha polls 2019. This will be PM Modi's first visit to Ayodhya after he came to power in 2014.
Ahead of General Elections 2014, Modi addressed a rally in Faizabad, where an image of the proposed Ram Temple at the backdrop of his dais triggered a massive controversy with the Opposition parties including the Congress complaining of the violation of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) by using religious symbols.
PM Modi's visit to the Ram Janmabhoomi is significant as many have accused the ruling BJP of not doing enough for the construction of a Ram temple at the disputed site of Ayodhya. Right-wing groups also demanded that a special amendment be brought to facilitate the construction of a temple.
Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi case, the decade-old socio-religious debate, started back on December 6, 1992, when a group of Hindu Karsevaks, during a political rally, destroyed the mosque claiming that a Ram temple was actually demolished to construct the same. The mosque was built by Mughal emperor Babur in Ayodhya back in 1528.
Though there was no such evidence that the disputed structure was constructed after demolition of a temple, the Supreme Court agreed that a temple or a temple structure predated the mosque at the same site. Moreover, the excavations by the Archaeological Survey of India also suggested that the predating structure was a massive Hindu religious building. Since then the matter has been in the light and turned into a political riot in India.
The BJP, however, in its 2019 election manifesto, has promised to "explore all possibilities within the framework of the constitution and all necessary efforts to facilitate the expeditious construction of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya".
Ayodhya, which falls under Uttar Pradesh's Faizabad Lok Sabha constituency, is scheduled to go to polls on May 6. The counting of votes for seven phase Lok Sabha elections will take place on May 23.