BJP is considering letting the Ram temple issue be resolved legally instead of enforcing it through a law “passed in haste”.
The BJP, stung by poll reversals in the three heartland states, is considering putting the contentious Ram temple issue on the backburner.
ThePrint has learnt that the party’s top leadership has moved to quash any talk of the BJP introducing a bill for the Ram temple in Ayodhya during the ongoing winter session of Parliament.
Highly-placed sources in the BJP told ThePrint that the party has now decided to let the temple issue be resolved legally instead of enforcing it through a law “passed in haste”. Sources in the government claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has told senior cabinet colleagues that the idea of a bill on the Ram temple should be put on the back burner.
As a result, sources said the much-hyped private member’s bill being proposed by Rakesh Sinha, the BJP nominee to the Rajya Sabha, is also unlikely to see the light of day this session as he has been told to fall in line over the issue.
Sinha, who hit the headlines a month ago when he announced that he would bring in a private member’s bill on the Ram temple, seemed unsure of his next course of action.
“You need to see how many days Rajya Sabha has worked. How will I introduce the bill?” Sinha told ThePrint.
Pressed on whether he is going to go ahead with his bill, he said, “There are still days left in this session. Why keep asking this? We are committed to the Ram temple.”
Poll defeats rattle party
Ever since the BJP lost to the Congress in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, there is panic in the saffron camp over the effectiveness of the Ram temple issue.
There is a feeling in the party that Ram temple politics hasn’t served the BJP effectively in the recent Assembly elections and so the party doesn’t want to risk massive polarisation that is likely to ensue if the proposed bill is introduced in Parliament.
With Lok Sabha polls due next year, the bill, many in the party feel, will help opposition parties rally around the issue.
The BJP’s change in position, however, comes at a time when its saffron affiliates, the RSS and VHP, have decided to harden their stance on the construction of the temple.
While the VHP has threatened to launch a massive nationwide campaign to build pressure on the Narendra Modi government, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat has urged the government to either issue an ordinance or bring in a bill.
“This government reacts negatively to pressure tactics. All we are hearing is that the government is not keen on the bill,” a senior RSS leader said.