The alleged match-fixing between the SP and the BJP over Ayodhya has left the Congress worried, which apprehends that polarisation of communities will harm it in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
A section in the Congress believes this polarisation is expected to benefit both the SP and the BJP.
Citing the rise of BJP's electoral fortunes in Uttar Pradesh in the wake of the Ram temple movement in 1991, 1996 and 1998 Lok Sabha elections, Congress leaders maintain that the saffron party is trying to revive the religious issue for political gains in the politically important state that sends 80 members to the lower house.
The BJP had won 47 Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh in 1991, 50 in 1996 and the highest of 57 in 1998 but failed to maintain the tempo in 1999 when it suffered a setback and managed to win just 29 seats. The downslide continued in 2004 when it won just 10 seats and barely managed to retain those in 2009. Similarly, the Congress leaders claim that the SP by its "so-called clampdown" on VHP leaders is trying to appease them.
In the past, SP had reaped rich electoral dividends due to this polarisation. This time, the SP sought to send a message to Hindu voters that its top leadership tried its best to persuade the VHP leaders to abandon their yatra plan so that peace is not disturbed in the state.