BJP, which rode to power in UP at the height of the temple movement in the 1990s and projected its fiery sanyasin Uma Bharati, a torchbearer of the temple movement as its chief ministerial candidate, suffered defeat in Ayodhya on Tuesday.
BJP candidate Lallu Singh, a five time MLA from the temple town, lost to Samajwadi Party’s Tej Narayan Pandey alias Pawan Pandey by nearly 3,000 votes.
The vote share of Singh, 57, had been steadily declining, from 51.3% in 1991 to 38.72% in 2002 to 37% in 2007. The winner, Pawan Pandey, 30, a former Lucknow University Students Union leader, had based his campaign entirely on Ayodhya’s development.
“I would do for Ayodhya what Lalluji couldn’t do in five terms,” he had promised. Even the locals appeared to have been a bit miffed by BJP candidate. In the run up to the campaign, the All India Akhara Parishad chairman, Mahant Gyan Das, had told HT: “They use Lord Ram as an election agent.”