“There has been plenty of politics over the Ram Mandir issue. Now, decide once and for how long you want to go on politicising it. The BJP has its own complete majority with 280 MPs. There are other parties along with the Shiv Sena for support. So if the temple cannot be built today, it will never be built.” This is from an editorial in Saamna, the Shiv Sena mouthpiece. The party, along with other Hindutva groups, has upped the ante in the demand for the temple to be built in Ayodhya on the site of the demolished Babri Masjid.
The demands are likely to get more insistent as the elections draw nearer in UP. But there are danger signals. The Sena has said that there has to be an end to slogans and that people should start picking up bricks. At the end of last year, truckloads of bricks made of pink sandstone were brought to the headquarters of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad in Ayodhya. Half the number of bricks for the proposed structure have already arrived. This was not a routine affair as nothing like this had happened in the previous eight years. Now that the BJP has been in power at the Centre for more than two years, the Hindutva groups have been ratcheting up their demand for the temple. In fact, some people in the party too have been vocal in demanding the temple as it was part of the poll promises in the election which brought the BJP to power.
But, the government has so far tread very cautiously on the matter, saying that it would go by the law. And rightly so. The demolition of the mosque was a blot on India’s secular polity and its catastrophic after-effects are felt even today.
The Hindutva groups are reading all sorts of signals into actions by the Prime Minister from his beginning a speech with Jai Shri Ram on Dusshera to the fact that he participated in a maha aarti in Varanasi after the elections. But at no point has he endorsed the building of the temple in his capacity as PM. Hence, those clamouring for the temple must be firmly told that nothing will be done violating the courts. The matter is still under litigation in the Supreme Court after the Allahabad High Court judgment six years ago. Their potential to make trouble as election fever grips the state must be negated now.