Ram Nagri Talks Temple, VeersRightTowardsBJP
Ayodhya, Faizabad: One of the very few Khatri traders in the local market here, Vardhaman is careful of what he speaks about the Ram Mandir, but he is vocal about one thing: Ayodhya gets attention only on paper and it is the only tourist place with no tourist spot. “Yahan koi videshi nahi aata (no foreign touristcomeshere).Itisonlynatural that Ayodhya feels envious of Mathura,” Khatri says.
The exasperated trader points out thatunlikeMathurathathasseveral temples apart from a ‘jail transformed into a Janmasthaan of aastha (faith) and prathista (devotion)’ Ayodhya has none, and survives on the three melas (fairs) that are held every year wherein devotees trickle into the town from all over the country.
“Ayodhya is the only town where every shop will sell everything— fromhandkerchief tophotosof gods to sarees. That is how meagre the earning is and we don’t want to lose any customer. The economy of this place isn’t growing despite it being such a political attraction. Both state and Centre keep sending money to this place, wonder where it goes?” Khatri laments.
Traders in the market point out that a majority of Hindus will vote for the BJP this time. “Ram mandir Ayodhya ki naak hai. (Temple is an issue of prestige). It has to be built. The town will grow. Khuli naaliyon ka bhi kuch kar de toh accha rahega (they must do something about the open drains too),” said Ram Chand Gupta, a government employee here.
Ayodhya in Faizabad is politically crucial for the BJP as well as the RSS and they believe the area is the birth place of lord Rama. Building a Ram temple there has been a matter of faith for the party. The BJP held this seat for almost two decades till 2012, when it lost to Samajwadi Party’s Pawan Pandey.
In Faizabad, of the five Vidhan Sabha seats, the SP rules in four (Ayodhya, Bikapur, Milkipur and Gosainganj) and BJP won only Rudauli. Barring Rudauli, from where sitting BJP MLA RamchandraYadaviscontesting,all theothercandidatesjoinedtheparty only a few months ago. BJP has fielded Ved Prakash Gupta, a veteran of the Ram Janmabhoomi movement, who had joined the Samajwadi Party and then shifted to the BSP. He had returned to the BJP only last year. There is resentment in the party ranks over an outsider being awarded the ticket but he is popular among the locals. “He has a car agency. He is a trader who understands business