The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) have chalked out an elaborate plan to launch a country-wide movement for the construction of the Ram temple in Ayodhya from April. The high priests of the saffron brigade plan to raise the chant of ‘Hindutva’ to a crescendo in the run-up to the next Lok Sabha election.
For its part, the BJP under Rajnath Singh promises to toe the Sangh parivar line to the hilt. Singh is known to be an old-time favourite of the RSS as he reportedly consults the Sangh leadership on each and every issue before proceeding with anything new. He is also known for his art of convincing the VHP and BJP top brass and working in tandem with them as a team.
The latest plan for the ‘Hindutva’ battle cry, sources say, was finalized at the huge congregation of sadhu-sants under the VHP’s banner at the Maha Kumbh at Prayag (Allahabad). The seers will organize religious meetings and play out the VHP’s plan throughout the country once they return from the Kumbh.
According to VHP president Raghav Reddy, the programme of ‘Ram naam jap’ (chanting of Lord Ram’s name) would be started in 200 villages of every district from the ‘Varsh Pratipada’ (April 13) according to the Hindu calendar. He told reporters in Ayodhya that saffron pennants would be hoisted on houses in at least one lakh villages across the country as part of this campaign.
A senior VHP functionary reveals that the campaign is aimed at the resurgence of ‘Hindutva’ on the lines of the ‘Ram mandir’ movement of the late 80s. This time around, the thrust is on involving a large section of students and the youth. For this, the VHP-RSS workers would involve schools and also parents of the students in the campaign, the VHP leader said.
Significantly, the VHP has over 40,000 units with full-time workers across the country. It also runs schools in about 50,000 villages. As such, the propagation of the movement across the country would just need a green signal from the VHP top brass.
Sources say that to make this campaign successful, a sant-mahant affiliated with the VHP would “adopt” a district and co-ordinate with seers of local temples to hold religious congregations where the VHP’s master plan would be elaborated. The idea is to consolidate the Hindu votebank in a decisive manner for the Lok Sabha election, the sources said.
However, the VHP is also aware that a decisive march to Ayodhya a la December 1992 is out of the question now. “The VHP is committed to the construction of a grand Ram temple in Ayodhya. But this can only be done through the Parliament as the disputed land in under the Centre’s possession,” says Raghav Reddy. He parried questions about the BJP’s choice of the candidate for PM-ship.