Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his rally in Ayodhya on May 1 (Photo: Twitter)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday visited Ayodhya where he addressed an election rally in Maya Bazar area of Gosainganj, which falls under the Ambedkar Nagar Lok Sabha seat in Ayodhya district. During the rally, Modi urged people to vote for his party BJP in the ensuing Lok Sabha polls, saying that pressing the lotus (BJP’s election symbol) on EVM will awaken a unique sense of patriotism in them. During his 30 minute speech, PM Modi spoke on various issues and achievements of his government but not even once mentiond the vexatious issue of Ram temple.
The prime minister also avoided a visit to Ram Lala Temple at the disputed site where he promised to build a grand Ram temple in 2014 and repeated the same in his party's 2019 manifesto. Interestingly, his party BJP has slammed Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi when she skipped visiting the Ram Lalla temple during her visit to Ayodhya.
"Recently the Congress leadership had announced to go to Ayodhya. They go to Ayodhya, but they don’t do pranam in the temple, they say if they do pranam to God their vote bank will go away from them," Union Minister Smriti Irani had said.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had even accused the Congress leader of hurting the sentiments of Hindus by not visiting the makeshift Ram temple. "She was asked why she didn’t visit the Ram Temple. She said that she didn’t want to visit the disputed site. She has hurt the sentiments of Hindus," he said.
Earlier in March this year, Priyanka Gandhi had visited Ayodhya and offered prayers at the famous Hanuman Garhi Temple. She, however, skipped a visit to the disputed site in Ayodhya where the idol of Ram Lalla is kept, saying "the matter is sub judice".
In 2016, ahead of the Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, Congress president Rahul Gandhi had also visited Ayodhya but like PM Modi and sister Priyanka, he too refrained from offering prayers at the disputed site.
The matter of Ayodhya title dispute is currently sub judice in the Supreme Court. The top court had recently appointed a panel of mediators headed by former top court judge Justice FMI Kalifulla for exploring the possibility of an amicable settlement to the vexatious land dispute.