Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi’s aide Amit Shah is scheduled to visit Ayodhya on Saturday.
While the ostensible reason for Shah’s visit to the temple town is a party meeting of the Awadh region, the venue for the meet – Karsewakpuram (where the Hindutva brigade gathers annually to reaffirm their temple commitment) -as indeed its timing betray a subtle plan to play upon the emotive issue.
There is a fresh movement to involve saints for construction of the Ram Janmabhoomi temple which would be put into action through the 84 Kosi Parikrama of Ayodhya, from August 25 to September 13.
The 84 kosi parikrama is an annual affair in Ayodhya; but this is the first time that saints from across the country are being galvanized to participate in it, much like the saffron build up that was witnessed during the Kumbh mela at Allahabad from where a section of saints had raised the demand for Modi’s elevation that eventually happened.
The symbolism is hard to miss as Shah is also tipped to visit the stone-carving workshop at Karsewakpuram, where stones carved for the proposed grand temple are kept.
A Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader recalled that this would the first time in almost 10 years that any senior BJP leader would visit Karsewakpuram. “Nearly a decade back, Advani had visited Karsewakpuram,” he said.
While the local BJP leaders would be there with Shah, VHP cadre would also be present in large numbers during his visit, indicating the new found bonhomie among the Sangh Parivar constituents since Modi’s elevation.
The BJP this time has plans to seek the feedback of all the Sangh Parivar members like RSS, VHP in finalizing tickets of its candidates in crucial states like UP, where the party feels “the returns from a properly coordinated ticket distribution exercise could be immense.”
A VHP leader confirmed that Shah would surely visit the stone-carving workshop. He is also scheduled to meet top saints, visit prominent temples, including the makeshift temple.
“The Ram temple continues to be a powerful rallying force for all of us and the same would be evident during the BJP leader’s visit. You may not see a return of the ‘90 type-buildup. But, we want to make it obvious that neither are we going to forget Ram nor would let others forget the need to have a grand temple in Ayodhya,” said a Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader.
Modi was earlier invited to participate at the Amrit Mahotsav in Ayodhya that was organised to mark the 75th birthday of Mahant Nritya Gopal Das of the Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas. However, he couldn’t make it to the function.