BJP invokes Ram temple, Vajpayee to woo UP

BJP raked up the Ram Temple issue and invoked former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee as part of its strategy to make a comeback in Uttar Pradesh.

Lucknow: BJP on Friday raked up the Ram Temple
issue and invoked former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee
as part of its strategy to make a comeback in Uttar Pradesh
with party chief Nitin Gadkari ruling out having truck with
any party for next year`s Assembly polls.

"While in Lucknow, just about a few kilometers away
from Ayodhya, we have an occasion to rededicate ourselves to
the ideals of Ram and strive for bringing about a true Rama
Rajya.

"We are committed to building a grand temple of Ram at
Ayodhya. We rededicate ourselves to the cause of establishing
a Ram rajya in Uttar Pradesh and the entire country," Gadkari
said, addressing the inaugural session of the two-day National
Executive Meet.

Briefing reporters about Gadkari`s speech, BJP Chief
spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said Gadkari also referred to
the recent High Court verdict.

"The High Court verdict had said that the place which
Hindus believe is the birthplace of Ram Lalla belongs to the
Hindus." The matter is now pending in the Supreme Court.

Prasad, however, maintained that the Ram temple issue
is not a political matter for the BJP. He said Gadkari has
sought the support of all sections of society for building a
grand Ram temple.

Gadkari also tried to strike an emotional cord with
the people and the party cadre by referring to contributions
made by Vajpayee.

"I had met Vajpayeeji yesterday. He has represented
Lucknow seat five times," Gadkari said.

Prasad said Gadkari announced that there would be "no
alliance whatsoever with SP, BSP or Ajit Singh`s party (RLD)
before or after the polls".

"Gadkari very categorically announced that there would
be no alliance whatsoever with SP, BSP or Ajit Singh`s party
(RLD) before or after the polls," Prasad said.

He insisted that in Delhi, SP and BSP were friends of
the Congress whereas in Uttar Pradesh they put up a " facade
of hostility".

"SP and BSP are appendages of the Congress," Prasad
alleged.

Prasad said the BJP will release on June 8 -- Atal
Samagra Darshan -- a collection of Vajpayee`s speeches and
writings.

This will be released by former President A P J Abdul
Kalam.

"We are all missing our great leader Atalji. While we
pray for his speedy recovery and good health, we also resolve
to walk relentlessly on the path shown by him. In the true
sense, he is a politician who continues to be Ajathsatru...
an individual who has no enemies," Gadkari said.

However, Prasad maintained that the party realised
that it cannot benefit from Vajpayee`s leadership due to his
ill-health.

Vajpayee`s famous statement that "the passage to
(acquiring power) in Delhi goes via Lucknow (a victory in UP)
was also recalled by the party.

"If we have to win in 2014, then we have to win in
Uttar Pradesh. At one time, BJP used to win 58-60 Lok Sabha
seats from the state The BJP reiterated its decision to go it
alone in the Uttar Pradesh elections scheduled for next year.

In reply to a question, the senior leader said for the
Lok Sabha polls, BJP would strive to come to power as part of
the NDA and here allies were welcome.

With Gadkari and senior leader LK Advani keen on
bringing back expelled leader Uma Bharti into the party fold,
the Hindutva and Ram temple issue is set to figure prominently
on its agenda for the forthcoming Assembly polls in Uttar
Pradesh.

Though Prasad indicated that the Ram temple issue may
not find a formal mention in the party manifesto, there are
clear indications that BJP will try to make political capital
out of it.

BJP leaders feel that while corruption, price rise,
development and good governance are catchy issues to attract
the voter, the Ayodhya movement still has several takers.

The issue had propelled the party from two seats in
the 1984 Lok Sabha polls to 87 seats in 1989. There were
formidable gains in the Assembly polls too.

PTI