With the 2019 Lok Sabha elections in sight, politics around the Ram Temple in Ayodhya has heated up. Political parties, especially the BJP, are trying to mobilise voters in the name of Ram Temple.
The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) organised a Dharm Sabha on 26 November for the cause of temple construction. However, this event didn't find many takers. On similar lines, preparations for bulding the temple are largely missing.
Case in point is the Ram Temple workshop.
According to workers, stones for temple construction are being been carved here for more than 25 years. Any traveler who comes to Ayodhya always visits the workshop. Initially, there were around 60-70 artisans working here. Now, only a few are left.
"“When we came here, there were 50 workers. Now, the number has reduced. Whenever someone comes, they ask: ‘When will the temple will be constructed?’ The BJP government is ruling everywhere. Still, it isn’t being built.”" - Rajnikant, Sculptor
Local guides are doing good business by describing the grandeur of the temple that is expected to be built.
Bharat Pandey has been taking tourists around Ayodhya for 18 years now. Most of the time, he says, is spent in showing the workshop. However, he is tired of giving the same answers.
"“Whenever new people come to see the workshop, they see the stones being cut. They also see the makeshift Ram Mandir [of cloth] which we have made. When they come again, we tell them this is the Ram Mandir workshop. Travellers always ask the same question:“You always show us the stones, when will the Ram temple be built?”" - Bharat Pandey, Guide, Ayodhya
After the VHP's Dharm Sabha, many outfits are trying to create tensions. However, locals say that no untoward incident will take place in Ayodhya.
"“No disturbance will take place in Ayodhya. It might happen outside. Because both Muslims and Hindus are nice here. Riots happen when people from outside come to Ayodhya. People gave them a massive majority and a big victory because of the temple issue. Despite this, they aren’t doing anything.”" - Ramji Pandey, Shopkeeper, Ayodhya
It seems people of Ayodhya have seen through the political agenda of various parties in raking up the Ram Temple issue before every election. Senior journalist from Ayodhya, Triyug Narayan Tiwari, echoes this sentiment:
“Whenever there’s an election coming up everyone tries to use the Ayodhya issue. People of Ayodhya are fed up of all this, they know the reality.”
(This article was first published on The Quint Hindi.)
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