Ram Mandir & the Embarrassed I.N.D.I. Alliance!
The Prana Pratishta Ceremony of Shri Ram Lalla happened at Ayodhya with grandiose celebrations across the nation on the 22nd of January 2024. The Ram Temple was built by the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra trust. It had invited Prime Minister Modi and RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, who led the Ram Janma Bhoomi movement, as chief guests for the function. Moreover, it organized the ceremony as a non-political one, by inviting Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Stalin, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, all the opposition leaders and Muslim leaders who had filed a case against the construction of the Ram temple. The invitation for the ceremony had put the anti-Hindu and anti-Modi parties in a major dilemma of whether to attend the Prana Pratishta Ceremony or not. This led the I.N.D.I alliance to a greater embarrassment. Why? To know the answer to this, let us know briefly about the Ram Janma Bhoomi movement.
An Effort of 300 years
For more than 300 years, the Hindu community tried hard to get the birth place of Lord Rama through war, through diplomacy during Maratha rule and through legal means during the White period. It became a mass movement in the 1980s. BJP, Shiv Sena and ADMK led by Jayalalithaa were the only three parties that supported the movement and all other opposition parties strongly opposed it due to vote bank politics. The then Congress government which was at the center and the Samajwadi Party government at the state and other pro-secular parties made all efforts to suppress the movement saying that the ‘Ram temple movement will destroy secularism’. In particular, the Narasimha Rao government played tricks and tried to weaken the movement. Secularists made the Babri Masjid, where Muslims do not pray, a symbol of secularism. The building called Babri Masjid was demolished because the secular parties and the rulers rejected the legitimate demand of the Hindus who wanted to build a Ram Temple. BJP’s Hindu politics evolved from it. After Modi came to power in 2014, anti-Hinduism became the style of politics of secularism. It is in that background that the I.N.D.I alliance was formed, with the sole aim of defeating Modi in the coming 2024 elections.
Embarrassing dilemma – To attend or not!
Just as the 2024 elections are approaching, the invitation to the Ram Temple Pran Pratishtha ceremony went to the opposition parties. The I.N.D.I alliance parties were left in a quandary when they received the invitation for the Prana Pratishta ceremony at the Ram Temple, which was eagerly awaited by the entire Hindu community. They could not take any decision together. Each member in the dotted alliance was forced to make decisions individually. Apart from the minority votes, the Leftists, who have no religious convictions, openly boycotted the Prana Pratishta ceremony. Congress was at a loss as to what to do. They fear that if they go to the ceremony, their secularism will be affected. The Kerala Muslim League leadership asked if they dared to refuse the invitation like the Left. Rahul should win the 2024 election from Wayanad constituency only, where Muslims are the majority. Apart from this, though BJP is popularly considered as a party favorable to Hindus in the northern states, people do not consider Congress as an anti-Hindu party. Even today the majority of voters for the Congress are Hindus. Most of them support Ram Mandir. The Congress, by ignoring the Prana Pratishta, seems to agree, what BJP accuses Congress as an “anti-Hindu party”. And its history of opposing the Ram Janma Bhoomi movement was exposed by the Congress’s decision to “skip the festival”. The Samajwadi Party in the I.N.D.I alliance in UP was in a more embarrassing state. It was the party led by Mulayam Singh Yadav which strongly opposed the construction of a temple for Lord Shri Ram. In 1990, a large number of Kar Sevaks were killed when they opened fire on Ram devotees. While garnering Hindu votes, Mulayam’s son Akhilesh said “We need a soft Hindutva to counter BJP’s Hindutva“. On one hand, Akhilesh was caught doubting whether he will get the Muslim votes, which he craves for, if he participates in the ceremony. And on the other hand, if he does not participate, he and his party would be branded anti-Hindu. Together, it would also create an opportunity for the BJP to recall all of the attacks on the Ram temple and firing on the Karsevaks done at the behest of Mulayam Singh and Samajwadi Party. So, Akhilesh gently skipped attending the ceremony but on record said that he will visit the temple later. Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Lalu Prasad Yadav stopped BJP leader L.K.Advani’s yatra which called for construction of Ram Temple. L.K.Advani was arrested by the then RJD government. His party was in no less embarrassment than the Samajwadi Party upon receiving the invitation for the Prana Pratishta Ceremony. Though Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Stalin ignored the invitation, there is news that his wife Durga Stalin is eagerly waiting to visit Ayodhya soon. If that happens, what will be the political impact is also being debated.
To conclude, Lord Shri Ram has put all those who opposed building a temple for Him in great embarrassment. The consequences of the decisions taken by these parties will be known in the coming weeks.
Note to the Reader: This article originally appeared in Thuglak Tamil Weekly Magazine. It was translated in English by Shri Venkateshwaran from Thuglak Digital for www.gurumurthy.net.