In a not-too-subtle move, the BJP’s PM candidate Narendra Modi had a huge portrait of Ram as the backdrop while addressing a rally here on Monday, although he carefully skirted the Ram Temple issue.
Modi invoked Lord Ram while addressing a meeting in Faizabad, barely six kilometres from Ayodhya. He shared the stage with the Faizabad candidate Lalu Singh who was issued a notice by the EC for displaying religious portraits. (PTI Photo)
Instead, he asked people living in Faizabad – the twin city of Ayodhya, which is believed to the birthplace of Ram -- to teach the Congress and those who support it “a lesson for not fulfilling electoral promises”.
Addressing the rally on the last day of campaigning here in support of BJP candidate Lalloo Singh, which goes to the polls on May 7, he said, “Faizabad should allow the lotus to bloom in the land of Shri Ram. I assure you from Bhagwan Ram’s land, I will fight corruption throughout my life. I have seen poverty, that’s why I have the courage to say this.”
It is for the first time that the BJP tried to mention the Ram Temple an election issue without Modi directly speaking about it.
The Election Commission, however, is likely to seek explanation from the BJP and Modi on using religion in its poll campaign as it amounts to violation of the model code. The EC sought tapes of the rally and sources.
Earlier, state Congress chief Nirmal Khatri said it was up to the election commission to look into the use of the image, as it amounted to violation of the model code of conduct.
Meanwhile, the Faizabad district administration has issued a notice to BJP candidate Lalloo Singh for putting up the portrait of Ram as a backdrop on the dais. District magistrate Indravir Singh Yadav said after receiving Singh’s reply, “we’ll decide on the future course of action”.
Referring to the Congress 2009 poll promise of providing 100 million jobs to people, Modi said the party could succeed in offering employment to only 20 million people. “However, Atalji’s government provided employment to 65 million youth in six years (1998-2004).”
Alleging a tacit understanding between the Congress, the SP and the BSP, he asked: “Who saves Netaji (Mulayam Singh Yadav) from the CBI? Who saves Behenji (Mayawati) from the CBI? They all are busy covering for each other.”
Full coverage: My India, my vote