On election eve, BJP heads for temple again
God proposes man disposes. This has been the case for BJP's Lallu Singh for the past 20 years. He rode the Ram wave in five consecutive assembly elections. However, he may not be as lucky the sixth time.
Whether it is the case of the BJP squandering easy victories or the lack on the part of its candidate, the man on the street sees the party's renewed Ram rhetoric as trite and tired.
"Lallu Singh is a good man, but has done nothing for the constituency," an embarrassed businessman friend of Singh explains. He does not want to be named, but his message is clear. Singh's 'friends', too, are disenchanted and disappointed in him.
The party appears to have sensed Singh's predicament. Lal Krishna Advani on Saturday and Uma Bharti on January 27 renewed the temple talk, for the benefit of the voters here.
A visit to the Ram Janmabhoomi trust workshop says more. The giant mechanised stonecutter boasts of a new disc and eight artisans work shifts to carve pink sandstone slabs for the proposed Ram Temple.
Almost defunct since 1997, the workshop was only resurrected in October 2011. In any case, there is a court stay on the disputed Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid site.
BJP's detractors say the exercise is a gimmick. The All India Akhara Parishad chairman, Mahant Gyan Das, says, "They use Lord Ram as an election agent."
The vote share of Singh, 57, has been declining, from 51.3% in 1991 to 38.72% in 2002 to 37% in 2007. Adding to his woes, the Samajwadi Party has fielded student leader Pawan Pandey, 30, who says, "I will do for Ayodhya what he did not in his five terms."
A Singh supporter sums up, "Victory was not an issue earlier. But this time, he is having to contest the seat."