When Prime Minister Narendra Modi responded to the Ayodhya verdict, he said that the decision to allow a temple to be built at the disputed site and an alternative site for the mosque should not be seen as a victory for either party. It is an idea that he and other leaders are repeating in the weeks leading up to the verdict. However, it is perhaps sensible to say that the verdict is a victory for the ruling party.
As the bench rejected the decades-old claim of the Muslim side at the disputed site and ordered the formation of a trust to build the temple, the BJP’s “Temple Vahin Banega” slogan is coming true.
Its immediate effect is a huge boost for the ruling party. Three months after this, he had promised on one of his major promises to grant special status to Jammu and Kashmir by repealing Article 370 of the Constitution, the second promise to build a Ram temple. This is the issue that made the BJP a national party and it was on this basis that the BJP grew rapidly from just two MPs in the 1984 elections to 303 in this year’s Lok Sabha elections. The Modi phase of the party features development, or development, while the issue of the temple has remained a constant throughout.
And so, at a time when the BJP has won the recently concluded assembly elections, this decision is like a gift from heaven. The difficult areas that the BJP had to deal with the economy after the assembly elections are now the headlines of tomorrow. The inability to increase the number of Devendra Fadnavis to form a government in Maharashtra even 16 days after the results, now seems like just a stigma. The BJP has said that it will sort things out and come to power in spite of delay and this belief got a boost today.
The same is true for the economy. Rating agency Moody’s downgraded its outlook for India from “stable” to “negative” on Thursday for around 20 companies including Infosys, TCS, HDFC Bank and SBI. The agency cited its close ties with the government to change this approach. However, what looked like a sad front-page headline has become an inside-page story today. The Ayodhya decision has ensured that priorities have changed for the next week or so. The BJP leader said, “Our title-management is taken care of automatically.
Perhaps the biggest win for the government and the BJP is that the voice of the opposition is now senseless. The Congress’s initial reaction to the decision was that the party “favors the construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya”. The same party which was opposing the removal of SPG security for the Gandhi family yesterday, will now have to stand with the government on the Ayodhya issue.
As the government agreed to set up the trust that built the temple, there are some areas of concern. It is not enough for party leaders to ask for calm and restraint in all sections of the community. As Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas and Sabka Vikas’ (Development and Faith for All) need to be implemented in the soul. This means that there are people in the country who were saddened by the controversies on 6 December 1992 (when the Babri Masjid standing at the disputed site was demolished). The Supreme Court said in the judgment that – “Muslims have been unfairly denied a mosque, which was constructed well over 450 years ago” – when they ordered that the Muslim parties should pay for a mosque in Ayodhya at five Acre land should be given.
This decision is not only about a temple and a mosque, but also the right circle for future relationships between different communities.