New Delhi, Nov 9 (IANS) The Ram temple issue has been a part of the BJP’s election manifestos since the 1989 Lok Sabha polls. However, at that time, the BJP did not speak about constructing the temple at the disputed site.
“By not allowing the rebuilding of the Ram Janma Mandir in Ayodhya, on the lines of Somnath Mandir built by the Government of India in 1948, it (government) has allowed tensions to rise, and gravely strained social harmony,” the BJP manifesto had said then.
In the next elections in 1991, the saffron party said it firmly believed that construction of Ram Mandir at ‘Janmasthan’ (birthplace) of Lord Ram was a symbol of the vindication of “our cultural heritage and national self-respect”.
In December 1992, Hindu mobs brought down the Babri Masjid and quickly built a makeshift temple dedicated to Lord Ram.
In 1996, the year when the BJP first got power albeit only for 13 days, the party manifesto promised to facilitate the construction of “a magnificent Shri Ram Mandir in Ayodhya which will be a tribute to Bharat Mata”.
In 1998, when the BJP finally formed its broad coalition government, it repeated its promise to build “a magnificent Shri Ram Mandir” where a makeshift temple already exists. It also said that the BJP will explore all consensual, legal and constitutional means towards this end.
In 1999, when the BJP returned to power after losing a parliamentary vote of confidence, the party kept away from the temple issue, more to please many of its allies in the coalition.
However, in 2004, the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) manifesto said: “The NDA believes that an early and amicable resolution of the Ayodhya issue will strengthen national integration. We continue to hold that the judiciary’s verdict in this matter should be accepted by all. At the same time, efforts should be intensified for dialogue and a negotiated settlement in an atmosphere of mutual trust and goodwill.”
In 2009, the BJP said there was an overwhelming desire of the people to have a grand temple at the birthplace of Ram in Ayodhya and it again promised to explore all possibilities to facilitate such a construction.
It repeated the promise in the 2014 manifesto and said it will “explore all possibilities within the Constitutional framework to facilitate construction of a Ram Temple in Ayodhya.”
The 2019 manifesto said: “We will explore all possibilities within the framework of the Constitution and all necessary efforts to facilitate the expeditious construction of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya.”
The Supreme Court on Saturday directed the Centre to form within three months a trust which will build a temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya.
In the unanimous judgement, the five-member bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, gave the 2.77 acre disputed land in Ayodhya to the Hindus and asked the government to give alternate land to the Sunni Waqf Board, which was a party to the title suit.
After the verdict was declared, the Bharatiya Janata Party said it has always been committed to the construction of the Ram temple and it has played a sincere and positive role on the issue.
“It is a matter of great satisfaction for us that Lord Ram’s temple issue has been resolved during the NDA government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Whenever the history of the country will be re-written, this tenure of the Bharatiya Janata Party government at the Centre will be written in golden letters. We welcome this historic judgement,” the party said.
(Nivedita Singh can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)