Ram Na­gri Talks Tem­ple, Veer­sRightToward­sBJP

The Economic Times - - Pure Politics -

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

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