Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel at ThePrint's Off The Cuff in New Delhi on 7 December
File image of Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel | Photo: Suraj Singh Bisht | ThePrint
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Raipur: At a time when the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh is leaving no stone unturned to make the bhoomi pujan ceremony for Ram Mandir in Ayodhya a grand success, the Bhupesh Baghel government in Chhattisgarh is also playing the Lord Ram card.

After cow protection law, cow dung purchase scheme, and promise to invest Rs 15 crore for widening and beautification of Kaushalya temple in Chandkhuri — considered to be the birthplace of Lord Ram’s mother — the Bhupesh Baghel government in Chhattisgarh has now announced the construction of Shiv and Ram temples in the Naxal-hit Bastar and Sukma districts.

According to a state government statement Monday, Lord Ram moved towards southern India, in his onward journey to Lanka, from Dandkaranya, or present-day Chhattisgarh. Before setting out further south, he installed a ‘Shivalinga’ at Ramapal, 10 km from Bastar district headquarters, and performed ‘Bhudevi’ (mother earth) puja at Ramaram in Sukma.

The government will now construct temples at these places.

Last week, the CM also visited the Kaushalya temple and billed it as a monumental structure belonging to Lord Ram’s maternal family kingdom, Kaushal. “Chhattisgarh is ‘Nanihal’ of Lord Ram and he is present in every bit and piece of the state. He is ‘Bhanja’ of Chhattisgarh. Lord Ram also spent substantial time in Chhattisgarh in his exile,” he said.

Baghel said the government will use the funds to beautify the route the Lord traversed around the temple.

This comes on the back of RSS leaders’ praise for the Godhan Nyay Yojana as a right step towards protecting the cows and strengthening rural economy.

Congress leaders say these moves are a snub to the BJP’s Ram temple politics.

But the BJP claimed that Baghel is merely taking forward the issues taken up by the previous Raman Singh government. The party also stressed that Baghel’s cow-centric schemes have crashed even before taking off.

Also read: Bengal under lockdown, so BJP is celebrating Ram Mandir bhoomi pujan at home — ‘in protest’

What the Congress says

Chhattisgarh Pradesh Congress Committee (CPCC) media chief Shailesh Nitin Trivedi said, “BJP always does politics in the name of Lord Ram and cow. It wants to circumscribe Ram and cow within the limits of its ideology and organisation.”

Lord Ram is part of the entire country, especially Chhattisgarh, and this is reflected in the decisions of the CM, said Trivedi.

“Whether it’s related to Shabri’s place, birth place of Luv and Kush or the track traversed by Lord Ram in Chhattisgarh, everything is included in all-encompassing decisions. Now BJP is in a bind and baffled,” he said.

Senior Congress spokesperson R.P. Singh said the Bhupesh Baghel government has now silenced the BJP forever on the issue of cow and Lord Ram.

Also read: ‘Dhanyawad Balasaheb’ — Shiv Sena is now going all out to claim credit for Ram Mandir

Baghel government using our blueprint, says BJP

However, BJP leaders claimed that the Baghel government hasn’t done anything new and only worked on the blueprint prepared by its predecessor.

“Baghel government’s cow protection-cum-cow dung purchase scheme Godhan Nyay Yojana has already gone haywire. According to the schemes, gothans or cow sheds were created for keeping and caring the stray cattle but today streets across the state remain packed with unclaimed bovines,” said Dharamlal Kaushik, leader of the opposition in the state assembly.

“As for Kaushalya temple, there is nothing new. It was constructed during our regime and the Baghel government is merely facilitating the previously planned task. Even this is being done too late. They woke from slumber after 19 months,” he said.

Lord Ram is a subject of faith and reverence for the BJP. The entire country knows the acts and character of the Congress and its leadership on Ram temple and Ram Setu, added Kaushik.

BJP’s state spokesperson and former MLA Sachhidanand Upasne attacked the ruling party and said if the government was serious about its claims, it wouldn’t have taken seven months to start the work on the temple.

“Foundation laying ceremony for beautification and widening of Kaushalya temple was done in December 2019 but haven’t yet started the work. Their claim of developing the track traversed by Lord Ram is something that was preconceived by the former BJP government,” he said.

“Today when the entire world is glued to Ayodhya for the grand function, Chhattisgarh chief minister’s statement that work for Kaushalya temple will be completed ahead of the Ram temple construction is not only illogical but it also shows his arrogance of power,” he said.

Also read: CM Baghel hands out plum posts to Chhattisgarh MLAs amid rebellion in Rajasthan Congress


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