Posted on: Reuters | December 9th, 2018
Author: Mayank Bhardwaj
Most analysts expect his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to fare far less well than it did in 2014, and critics often accuse the party of using communal issues to whip up support.
Most Hindus believe the warrior-god Ram was born in Ayodhya, and Hindu groups insist that there was a temple there before a mosque was built by a Muslim ruler in 1528.
Hindu monks want the government to introduce a legislation to pave the way for a temple, said Sharad Sharma, spokesman for the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), or the World Hindu Council, a group that has close ties with the BJP.
“It’s an issue of faith for millions of Hindus who cannot endlessly wait for a temple at the birthplace of Lord Ram,” he said.
Both Hindu and Muslim groups have petitioned the Supreme Court to help resolve the issue. The top court has sought more time to give its verdict.
The BJP and VHP and their parent movement, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, have asked the government to issue an executive order to build a temple, bypassing the Supreme Court.
Late last month, tens of thousands of Hindu seers, their followers and political activists had gathered in Ayodhya to press for their demand for a temple.
Ahead of Sunday’s rally, police stepped up security, with organizers expecting hundreds of thousands to participate.
Uttar Pradesh, the state where Ayodha is located, has suffered repeated outbreaks of communal violence since Yogi Adityanath, a BJP hardliner seen as a potential successor to Modi, became chief minister last year.
Earlier this month, a senior police officer and another man were killed in violent protests in the state over reports that a cow, an animal sacred in Hindu culture, had been slaughtered.
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