15 May, 2021

Ram Redux A New Calendar For Polls And Puja

The BJP’s keenness to wave again the magic wand that helped it beat Mandal in the 1990s­ could be a sign that the ruling party’s 2019 script will have a ‘mandir accomplished’ theme

Ram Redux A New Calendar For Polls And Puja

There’s something afoot in Ayodhya. A set of political and legal events, unfolding almost in lockstep, are deigning to bring back to life a theme that fundamentally altered India’s polity and inflected community rel­ations at a deep, symbolic level a quarter century ago. This week, India marks the 25th anniversary of December 6, 1992—a whole generation has grown up in the post-Babri Masjid demolition phase. But the social amnesia that usually attends such events is poised to break. The signals are crystal clear. Ayodhya is no longer a frayed slogan from the past, a vague promise from the BJP’s own directive principles. It’s a live issue, and the construction of a Ram mandir will be a concrete thing India’s ruling party will take to the 2019 election—perhaps even as an accomplishment.

 The straws in the wind have been there for a while. Witness what happened on May 31, the day after a special CBI court filed charges of conspiracy against veteran BJP leaders L.K. Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharati in the demolition...

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