BJP’s Sankalp Patra: From construction of Ram Temple to development of Ayodhya | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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BJP’s Sankalp Patra: From construction of Ram Temple to development of Ayodhya

Apr 15, 2024 08:49 AM IST

In the manifesto, the BJP referred to the temple’s construction as “people’s five-centuries-old dream” that has become a reality

Having fulfilled its long-pending promise of building a grand Ram Temple in Ayodhya, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in its election manifesto now talks about holistic development of the city and developing other cultural and religious sites.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi releases the BJP election manifesto in New Delhi on Sunday. (ANI Photo)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi releases the BJP election manifesto in New Delhi on Sunday. (ANI Photo)

In the manifesto released on Sunday, the BJP referred to the temple’s construction as “people’s five-centuries-old dream” that has become a reality.

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While there is a demand from certain sections, including offshoots of the BJP’s ideological parent RSS, to push for the construction of temples in Mathura and the Gyanvapi mosque in Varanasi, the manifesto restricts itself to a generic assurance to save culture and heritage.

Under the subhead of ‘Virasat Bhi, Vikas Bhi’, the manifesto says the party will undertake significant new projects to develop religious and tourist sites inspired by the Kashi Vishwanath corridor model, across the length and breadth of our country.

“As millions of devotees from around the world visit Shri Ram Lalla in Ayodhya, we are committed to the holistic development of the city,” it said. To be sure, the government has already begun efforts to develop the city as a religious tourism destination for millions of devotees expected to arrive to offer prayers at the temple that was consecrated on January 22.

The promise to build a temple at the disputed site was incorporated in the manifesto after the BJP passed a resolution to push for the construction of the temple during a meeting in Palampur in 1989.

Preservation and study of manuscripts, digitisation of manuscripts and epigraphs in mission mode and a dedicated scholarship programme to research ancient Bharatiya manuscripts and epigraphs are also on the agenda.

In line with the party’s ideological commitment, the manifesto promises the establishment of Bharatiya Sanskriti Kosh to ensure the preservation and protection of “ancient Bharatiya civilisation, classical languages, culture, and traditions through the extensive use of technology.”

The RSS and its offshoots have been pushing the government to revisit the curriculum, particularly the history that is taught in schools and colleges. They also want India system of education to be researched and developed. Keeping in with the demand, the manifesto proposes organising a triennial international conclave on Bharatiya Knowledge Traditions and expediting the construction of the Yuge Yugeen Bharat National Museum, featuring “millennia of Bharatiya history and work towards making it one of the most liked museums in the world”.

For the first time in decades, the manifesto mentions Article 370, but as a promise that was delivered. Referring to the August 2019 revocation of the provision that gave the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir special status, the manifesto claims that revoking Article 370 led to “a significant reduction in violence in Jammu and Kashmir”.

In the 2019 manifesto, the party had underlined its commitment to remove the provision, dubbing it anti-women. “We reiterate our position since the time of the Jan Sangh to the abrogation of Article 370. We are committed to annulling Article 35A of the Constitution of India as the provision is discriminatory against non-permanent residents and women of Jammu and Kashmir. We believe that Article 35A is an obstacle in the development of the state,” the previous manifesto said.

The manifesto, which mentions Jammu and Kashmir only once, also makes no mention of ensuring the safe return of Kashmiri Pandits to the Valley, a promise that was included in the earlier manifesto.

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