You will make a monumental mistake if you assume that the trial of the patriarchs of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the Babri Masjid demolition case is a setback for the saffron fold. Those who have a faintest idea of the saffron brotherhood’s philosophy and functioning of Indian jurisprudence would never fall for such naïve assumption.
On the other hand, there are unmistakable signs that the road for the construction of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya would be greatly facilitated with the BJP firmly in the saddle in Delhi and Lucknow. LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi , Vinay Katiyar and Uma Bharti have outlived their utility in the Sangh Parivar’s larger project and hence deserve to be treated as individuals.
It is deeply ingrained in the training of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the cause is more sacrosanct than individuals. But there is an inherent flexibility in the saffron family’s approach when an individual often symbolises the cause. In 1990’s Advani happened to emerge as the most potent symbol and rallying point for the Ayodhya movement. Advani continued to enjoy the unconditional trust of the RSS , Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and his own party — the BJP.
After demolition of the mosque on 6 December,1992, the Ayodhya movement gradually lost its relevance as a make-shift temple came up at the site. Advani along with Atal Bihari Vajpayee retained his primacy in the party’s scheme of things as Hindutva posterboy and steered the party to attain the power at the Centre in 1998 and 1999. But Advani's tenure as the home minister became suspect in the eyes of the saffron fold on account of his wavering commitment to the Ram Temple.
If you have any doubts, then try to remember the face-off he had with the RSS-VHP leaders on the issue of mobilisation of karsevaks in Ayodhya during his tenure as the home minister. Advani ordered a crackdown on VHP-inspired mobilisation in a fashion no less ruthless in its efficacy than that ordered by VP Singh-Mulayam Singh Yadav in 1990. In his utterances, he was seen as leader keen to distance himself from the temple agenda and eager to assume the mantle of a Hindu moderate much to the chagrin of the Parivar. In the six years of Vajpayee-Advani regime, Ayodhya was not even a blip on the party’s political radar.
Contrast that with today’s scenario in which neither the Centre nor the Uttar Pradesh government is apologetic about pursuing the Parivar's greater objectives of "nation building" which is quite in consonance with building of the Ram temple in Ayodhya. With Adityanath Yogi as the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, the state government would be more keen than ever to drop even a pretense of secular values. Of course, Adityanath is more determined than anybody to see to it that the project bears fruition sooner than later.
Unlike other BJP leaders, Adityanath is not a dyed-in-the-wool politician. He is essentially a head of a Hindu religious peeth with a deep commitment to religious beliefs and faith. He knows it well that following the recent election that saw complete marginalisation of traditional Muslim leadership, those championing the cause “traditional secularism” stand thoroughly discredited in the eyes of Muslims. And this offers an opportune moment to make determined moves for arriving at a conciliation to pave way for temple construction at Ayodhya.
With the Supreme Court’s direction to revive the conspiracy case against the BJP’s patriarchs and other leaders and expedite the case, the issue of Ayodhya will grab centre-stage once again. In this context, the day-to-day trial will give enough scope for the saffron fold to revive the issue and take it to the logical end, that is, construction of the temple. In such a situation, Adityanath would play a critical role not only as a political executive but also as a religious leader of eminence.
Far from being a setback, the Supreme Court’s intervention in the case against Advani, Joshi, Uma and others has revived the Sangh Parivar-inspired Ayodhya movement at the most critical phase. As it progresses, the sight of Advani, Joshi, Uma and others going in and out of court room at Lucknow for trial would become a side story. In it's latest avataar, the Ayodhya story will have new heroes like Adityanath who may be instrumental taking the Sangh Parivar’s political project to fruition much sooner than we anticipate.
Updated Date: Apr 21, 2017 11:59 AM