The Ram Temple Trust’s announcement on Monday that the foundation work of the temple in Ayodhya would be complete by this October means that the project, closest to the heart of the BJP and the RSS, is on track for the ground floor of the temple to start taking some shape by the time Uttar Pradesh goes to polls next year and the entire temple to be ready before the Lok Sabha elections in 2024.
“It is expected that the (foundation laying) work will finish by October. All engineers and labourers involved in this work are safe & healthy,” the Shri Ram Janambhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust said in a tweet on Tuesday.
The secretary of the Trust, Champat Rai, added that the work was going on in two shifts round-the-clock in order to ensure that the temple is constructed at the earliest and the Covid-19 pandemic has not impacted the work. Construction companies Larsen & Toubro (L&T) and Balaji Construction and Tata Consultants Engineers in the role of consultant are working on the project, while Chandrakant Sompura is the architect.
As per estimates shared with News18 by at least two trust members on the condition of anonymity, the construction of the temple by L&T could take about 26 months once the foundation work of the temple is complete this October. This means the project is on track for completing by end 2023 or early 2024 despite the twin waves of Covid which had threatened to slow down the work.
The Ram Temple being possibly inaugurated by PM Narendra Modi in Ayodhya before the 2024 Lok Sabha elections scheduled in February-March could be a big boost for the BJP government which will be aiming for a third consecutive term in office.
Further, the ground floor of the temple is expected to come up within 6-8 months of the foundation laying work being complete this October, implying that the actual temple could start taking some shape by the time Uttar Pradesh goes to polls in February-March next year. Though the BJP has always maintained that the Ram Temple is not a poll issue but one associated with the sentiments of crores of Hindus in India and abroad, the issue is expected to dominate the Uttar Pradesh elections with Yogi Adityanath at the helm as the Chief Minister and given his close association with the Ram Janambhoomi movement over the years.
“The images of the temple actually starting to take shape will have an impact,” a senior UP BJP leader said, highlighting how the Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav or Congress General Secretary In-charge of UP, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra had never visited the temple site all these years but Yogi Adityanath had been there nearly every month ever since he became the chief minister. The Centre has also fast-tracked work on the International Airport to come up in Ayodhya by next year and tenders have been recently invited for development of the airport.