VHP faces challenge of redefining its role
The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), which played a key role in the Ram temple movement, on Saturday said it would spell out its next course of action after holding a meeting of saints..
“We will decide our next course of action by holding a meeting of the Marg Darshak Mandal of saints soon. We will do whatever the saints decide,” VHP spokesman Sharad Sharma said.
The VHP’s statement comes at a time when it remains to be seen whether the organisation or the saints associated with it will get a role in the trust that the Centre will have to set up in compliance with the Supreme Court order for construction of the Ram temple.
The Supreme Court has asked the Centre to formulate a plan in three months to set up a trust and hand over to it the land for construction of the temple.
“If a new trust is set up now, we will request the Centre to include the saints who have remained closely associated with the VHP,” said Sharma.
Nevertheless, there is a growing feeling among those associated with the organisation that the VHP will have to make a new beginning or else Ram temple construction may mean the end of the road for the organisation.
Seeking to dispel such notions, Sharma said, “We are also involved in nation-building, besides taking up the cause of Ram temple. We are taking the society along with us and thus there is no confusion.”
VHP functionaries say about 100,000 cubic feet of stones, including pillars, have been carved for the Ram temple at the VHP workshop (karyashala).
Besides convincing the Centre to give it representation in the trust, the VHP will also face the challenge of making use of these stones for construction of the Ram temple.
“VHP had carried out shila pujan for Ram temple in 200,000 villages in 1989. A donation of Rs 1.25 each was collected from every village and the VHP thus collected Rs 3.5 crore (Rs 35 million). We have used this money for stone carving till 2014,” said Sharma, adding, “The workshop has remained closed for the past three months due to the festival season.”
A model of Ram temple displayed at the VHP workshop (karyashala) has remained a centre of attraction for pilgrims in Ayodhya over the years. The VHP had put up large donation boxes at the workshop. Visitors make donations, hoping their money would be used for construction of the Ram temple.