IT WAS no less than launch of the BJP’s campaign for the Vidhan Sabha election in what turned out to be a roadshow for the party on the way to and in Ayodhya.
Former Chief Minister Kalyan Singh was in his element, invoking the spirit of Hindutva, harping on the temple issue, lashing out at the Mulayam Singh Yadav Government for ‘Muslim appeasement’, terrorism and support to SIMI.
This was viewed as a sign of the saffron brigade’s failure to find more emotive and vote-catching issues.
Asserting that he felt no grief over the demolition of the disputed structure in Ayodhya in 1992, Singh said his party would make no compromise on the construction of Ram Janmabhoomi temple.
“It is not a political issue but related to the honour and dignity of the nation,” he told members of the Bar association in Faizabad.
Addressing a Press conference at Karsewakpuram in Ayodhya in the evening, Singh said it was believed that the Allahabad High Court order on the dispute may go in favour of Hindus and pave the way for temple construction.
He evaded a direct reply to a question about sharp differences between the BJP and the VHP on the matter. He also parried a query on VHP leaders’ stance that they would not allow the temple issue to be politicised. Instead, he said the VHP had been involved in the temple movement for a long time.
He also said he had given a written statement to the Liberhan Commssion that there was sufficient evidence to prove that there existed a Hindu temple beneath the disputed structure in Ayodhya.
Singh flayed rival political parties for ‘surrendering’ before Muslims for their votes. He also warned against ‘Islamisation of politics’ after ‘criminalisation of politics’.
His motorcade, comprising over 100 vehicles, took seven hours to cover 135 km from Lucknow to Ayodhya.
He addressed dozens of meetings on the way, but the people’s response was much below the expectations of BJP leaders.
Along with other party leaders Lalji Tandon and State chief Keshari Nath Tripathi, he had ‘darshan’ of Ram Lala. And at Hanuman Garhi, he sought blessing of sants and sadhus, including Nritya Gopal Das. All the leaders spoke as if they were addressing an election meeting.
Singh, who is also party national vice-president and incharge of UP affairs, accused a particular community of being responsible for an increase in incidents of terrorism in the country. He that the “Mulayam Government was setting up a university in the name of a leader who publicly refused to recite Vande Matram”. He also said leaders were committing a crime by adopting the Muslim appeasement policy. Barring the BJP, all parties were on their knees for Muslim votes and this would certainly lead to a serious national crisis, he alleged.
To solve al the problems, he had one suggestion: vote the BJP back to power. He claimed that the State would be free of criminals within 30 days if the BJP was back in government.