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A group of seers at the Kumbh Mela Wednesday passed a resolution to march to Ayodhya on 21 February and lay the foundation for the Ram Temple.

This came a day after the Narendra Modi government moved the Supreme Court seeking permission to return the “excess/superfluous land” acquired in Ayodhya to its original owners.

ThePrint asks: Hindu seers’ Ayodhya march: Are they putting pressure on BJP or working in tandem?

BJP sends Lord Ram to exile only to bring him back before elections

Vinayak Dalmia
Spokesperson, Congress

On the Ram Mandir issue, the Congress’ position is clear. The matter is sub-judice and we have to wait for the Supreme Court to decide.

Whether the application will be allowed, dismissed, or modified is a matter that is between the Supreme Court and the applicant. We are not a party to this. Although, the timing of the Centre’s application in the Supreme Court to lift a 2003 status quo order, seeking permission to return “non-disputed” land around the disputed site to the original owners, is suspect.

Was there any ban on bringing an ordinance in the last four years? The BJP had its government at the Centre and in UP. This is cheap politics and an insult to Lord Ram.

But, the people’s court shall not spare such a callous and dishonest government. The BJP sends Lord Ram to exile only to bring him back before the elections.

I am a follower of Lord Ram and Lord Hanuman and feel insulted when the BJP tries to play politics with religion. I pray and hope some wisdom is bestowed upon this government.

We request Ram bhakts and BJP supporters to wait for SC verdict, which will be just

Chandra Mohan
BJP UP spokesperson

The BJP’s stand on the matter has always been very clear. The hearing is due in the Supreme Court and we have utmost respect for the judiciary.

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has reiterated the party’s commitment to building a Ram Mandir at the Ram Janambhoomi time and again.

Given how the matter is subjudice, we can only wait for the Supreme Court’s verdict now. We’d like to request all Ram bhakts to patiently wait for the verdict.

The allegation that the religious saints are working in tandem with the BJP is highly unfair, and inappropriate. Ascribing political allegiances to religious saints isn’t something we are comfortable with. They are Ram bhakts and that is the only motive they work with.

As far as the Congress party is concerned, it is ironical that they are now pretending to be concerned about the Ram Mandir.

Their senior leader, Kapil Sibal has represented the Waqf board in the court. Thus, their double standards, in this case, is evident. Unlike the Congress, our stand on the Ram Mandir issue has always been very clear.

That said, we maintain that we have extraordinary faith in the judiciary, and we are certain they will be honest and just in their verdict. Until then, we can only request other BJP supporters as well as Ram bhakts to not lose faith in us.

Ayodhya march is nothing but division of labour, Hindutva style

Hilal Ahmed
Associate professor, CSDS

This proposed “Ayodhya March” of the ‘Hindu saints’, led by the VHP, is a perfect example of the two fundamental aspects of contemporary Hindutva politics.

1. The carefully drafted resolution of the Hindu saints is critical of the constitutional bodies, including Parliament. It questions the ‘sovereign powers’ of these democratic institutions and reminds them that Hindu commitment for the Ram temple is absolute.

Yet, the resolution does not go against Narendra Modi or Yogi Adityanath. Modi was even praised by the saints for his efforts towards expediting the legal process.

Hence, an impression is created that the institutional logic does not allow the ‘good Hindus’ like Modi or Adityanath to work for the Hindu interests.

This strange critique of law and institutions empowers the Hindutva elite to justify any possibility of lawlessness in the name of Hindu reaction, which they might want to create before 2019 elections.

2. The resolution also shows the strategic placing of various actors in the ideological coalition called Hindutva.

·The VHP takes up the role of a ‘pressures group’ so as to mobilise Hindu religious icons and symbols for creating an ‘angry Hindu’ discourse.

· The BJP shows its helplessness as a political party with regard to the ‘legal’ process so as to legitimise the ‘Hindu victimhood’ discourse.

· The RSS assumes the role of ‘a mentor’ suggesting the government, the party and the affiliates to respect the ‘tolerant Hindu’ discourse.

It would be interesting to observe the outcome of this division of labour in the coming Lok Sabha elections.

We waited for the Supreme Court to deliver justice, but now feel wronged

Vinod Bansal
National Spokesperson, VHP

All of us desire the same thing. We have the same aim in mind – a Ram Mandir on Ramjanmabhoomi. Ultimately, all our hard work and attempts are aimed at realising that dream.

The Hindu society is growing extremely impatient with every passing day. We’ve been waiting patiently for decades, but even today we stand exactly where we did 500 years ago. Neither the Supreme Court, nor the political parties care for us. Given the state of affairs, it is natural for us to feel hurt and neglected.

Now, it is time for the sants (religious leaders) to take charge of the situation and lead the cause of the Ram Mandir.

As far as the Constitution is concerned, Hindus have always had immense respect for it, which is why we waited for the Supreme Court to deliver justice. But now, we feel wronged. Justice delayed is justice denied.

Lord Krishna commanded the Pandvas to fight for what was right. He did not ask them to wait for the law of the day to deliver justice.

It is evident that the Ram Mandir case is not a priority for the Supreme Court. Opposition parties like the Congress also benefit by repeatedly creating hurdles in our fight. It’s been a year and a half since the Supreme Court was supposed to deliver the verdict, but all the drama has led to nothing.

We refuse to wait for the judiciary to give us our right now.

Seer march pre-planned by Congress to show ruling BJP as anti-Hindus

Sangit Ragi
Professor of Political Science, Delhi University

The decision of the Sansad led by the Swami Swaroopanand ji to march to Ayodhya on 21 February and the lay the foundation for the Ram Mandir is a deliberate design that is intended to achieve two possible consequences.

First, it will show that the VHP-coordinated Dharma Sansad was politically motivated and not seriously committed to the Ram Temple issue. This will obviously mount pressure on the Dharma Sansad.

Second, the said march will escalate the issue to clashes between the seers and the police, which (if it happens) will give Swami Swaroopanand and the Congress a tool to provoke public sympathy before general elections. They will depict the ruling-BJP as anti-Hindu.

This is the strategy the Congress has been working on. Swaroopanand ji, who is close to the Congress party, knows it very well that he doesn’t have the larger support of the seers on the issue (as compared to Ram Janmbhoomi nyas), nor does he have any preparation or plan for the temple.

He is doing all this not to protect Sanatan Dharma, but for the party that he is close to.

His political diatribe against the Sangh Parivar and seers who don’t endorse his line makes it amply clear.

By Fatima Khan, journalist at ThePrint. You can follow her on twitter @khanthefatima

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