Ram temple, labharthis, UCC: UP BJP ready with poll trishul for 2024

BJP wants the temple to open next year so that the Lok Sabha polls can be held under the saffron hue

Lucknow: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is battle ready for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections in Uttar Pradesh.

All the issues that the party is relying on for a return to power have a strong base in Uttar Pradesh — be it the grand Ram temple, the support from beneficiaries (known as ‘labharthi’) the impact of the Uniform Civil Code, the magic of Yogi Adityanath and, of course, the divisions in the opposition.

To begin with, the Ram temple has been the fulcrum of the BJP’s politics since it came into being in 1980, and the party has faced some turbulent times in the temple movement in the past decades.

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When the doors of the Ram temple open in 2024, it will be only the ground floor that would have been completed by then. The Ram Lalla idols would be installed there and will be opened for the public in January next year.

The BJP wants the temple to open next year so that the Lok Sabha polls can be held under the saffron hue.

The opening of the temple, according to sources, will be preceded by a massive publicity blitzkrieg that will be designed to raise Hindu passions and create a frenzy of sorts for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

“The campaign preceding the opening of the temple will span over almost three months and we plan to whip up Hindu passions like never before. The opening of the sanctum sanctorum will be a slap on the faces of those who have ridiculed our slogan ‘Mandir wahin banayenge’,” said a BJP functionary.

He added that the Ram temple was not a fulfilment of an election promise but was a fulfilment of faith that millions had reposed in the BJP.

Other constituents of the Sangh Parivar — including the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the Bajrang Dal — are also planning programmes to create a build-up for the grand occasion.

The BJP will want to make sure that temple talk dominates the Indian political scenario in 2024 and all other issues are swept aside.

The opening of the temple in early 2024 will also throw open a new Ayodhya to the people of India that the Yogi government is working on.

“When one comes to Ayodhya to see the Ram temple, we would like them to see a new state-of-the-art city, the new Ayodhya,” said a government official.

The Uttar Pradesh government is gearing up to develop Ayodhya with a mega Rs 32,000 crore plan, involving 264 projects executed by as many as 37 agencies to transform the face of Ayodhya into a global tourism and spiritual destination.

A massive network of highways, roads, infrastructure, townships, grand entrance gates, multi-level parking facilities and a new airport is coming up in Ayodhya.

A free-field Vedic township, a new international airport, a redeveloped railway station, construction of new prime roads and the Saryu River development plan along with historic city circuits and heritage walks are part of this.

A senior BJP functionary said, “While the 2019 Lok Sabha election narrative was about surgical strikes, the Ram temple will become the big narrative in the 2024 general elections.”

Alongside the temple issue, the BJP is relying on ‘labharthis’ – beneficiaries of the schemes of the Central and state governments.

Ration kits, free houses, free gas cylinders, free water connections that were distributed among the poor have created a new vote bank of beneficiaries that cuts across caste and religion.

The BJP is confident that this section of voters will not be impacted by issues that are raised by the opposition parties.

The Yogi government’s crackdown on the mafia and criminals and subsequent improvement in the law and order situation has created a sense of security among the people.

While some of Yogi Adityanath’s cabinet colleagues were seemingly apprehensive about a possible backlash from the minority community, following the killing of Atiq Ahmad and his brother Ashraf in police custody, the chief minister has remained unrelenting and continues to act tough against the mafia.

His tough action against the mafia, his no-nonsense approach towards the state administration and commitment to development has become a magical combination of factors that will likely lead the BJP to another sweeping victory in the 2024 polls.

Moreover, the heat being generated over the Uniform Civil Code, is also aimed at consolidating the Hindu vote bank in favour of the BJP.

“The bigger the opposition to UCC, the greater will be the Hindu consolidation in our favour,” said a senior UP minister.

Another factor that makes the BJP confident about its performance in UP is Yogi Adityanath. The chief minister has acquired a cult status and is widely respected as a strict administrator and a compassionate leader. His popularity has been growing by the day and the crowds at his meetings clearly indicate that he is miles ahead of others in the campaign.

However, the BJP continues to work on micro management at the organisation level to help translate the people’s mood into votes. The party is repeatedly oiling its party machinery and is not leaving things to chance.

Another major factor that will make it easy for the BJP in 2024, is the thoroughly fragmented opposition in UP. The Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party and the Congress have shown no inclination for an alliance in the state and this will work in favour of the BJP – a fact that everyone knows but no one will acknowledge.

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