LUCKNOW – Bowing to mass sentiments, most of the opposition parties in Uttar Pradesh may have announced their support to the ‘bhumi pujan’ for the construction of the grand Ram temple in Ayodhya, but a strong sense of unease is more than palpable in the opposition ranks from Congress to Samajwadi Party to Bahujan Samaj Party.
The Congress, which had till recently avoided commenting on the ‘bhumi pujan’ ceremony, finally broke its silence when Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said in a tweet that she hoped Lord Ram would strengthen national integration, brotherhood and cultural harmony.
Her husband Robert Vadra went a step further and posted on Facebook a poster of himself standing with folded hands before a statue of Lord Ram.
Former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath was quick to change his profile picture on Twitter with the new one showing him wearing a saffron drape. He also welcomed the initiation of the Ram temple construction.
Other Congress leaders like R.P.N. Singh and Jitin Prasada also tweeted quatrain verses (chaupai) from the Ramayana.
A senior Congress leader said, “The Congress has been unnerved by the massive publicity being given to the ‘bhumi pujan’ event. The party has no clear-cut policy and we do not know yet if this is the leadership’s brand of soft Hindutva. The party cadres, who have been nurtured on secular principles, are confused.”
Another veteran Congress leader said that the new soft Hindutva policy would damage the party further. “We will only be following the BJP narrative. We must support the Ram temple but should not be seen going overboard on the issue. It would be better if the party leaders confine themselves to raising issues related to governance and development,” he said.
Meanwhile, Samajwadi Party President Akhilesh Yadav, who had maintained a studied silence on the issue for all these months, finally tweeted that he hoped people would follow in the footsteps of Lord Ram and conduct themselves in a dignified manner.
A Samajwadi party MLA said, “We are not opposed to the Ram temple but we have to maintain a balance because the minorities form our vote base. We cannot be seen tilting completely towards any one community.”
Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati, on the other hand, gave the entire credit for the construction of the Ram temple to the Supreme Court.
In a series of tweets, she said the Ayodhya dispute had created many controversies in the past and the ‘bhumi pujan’ being performed in Ayodhya is a result of the Supreme Court’s verdict.