The Election Commission (EC) has ordered an inquiry into the alleged invocation of Lord Ram by Narendra Modi at his rally in Faizabad on Monday. The disputed shrine in Ayodhya is located in this district.
Modi, who has hitherto completely avoided any reference to the Ram temple issue, referred to Lord Ram several times throughout his speech. The backdrop, a huge portrait of Lord Ram and a painting of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad's proposed Ram temple in Ayodhya, completed the ambience which led the Congress to complain to the EC that the BJP was using religion to ask for votes. This is a violation of the EC's model code of conduct as well as the Representation of People Act.
The EC has asked the Faizabad District Magistrate for an early inquiry report along with a CD of Modi's speech.
"When Mahatma Gandhi talked of a welfare state, he used to say that it should be like 'Ram rajya'," Modi said in his speech. He also referred to Lord Ram's commitment to his words, saying: "Pran jaaye par vachan na jaaye" (A promise is to be honoured even if it means giving up one's life.)
Though he was not aggressive on the issue, and did not promise temple construction in Ayodhya, Modi said the temple tangle would be solved "within the provisions of the Constitution". That is what the BJP has also promised in its manifesto.
Earlier, too, Modi had faced a similar complaint from opponents for addressing a rally in Varanasi with Lord Shiva in the backdrop.