For the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Ayodhya verdict has come as a sort of closure of the Ram temple movement it launched in 1989.
For years, the party faced allegations from its supporters and voters outside and the sangh parivar members within that it had exploited Ram politically and then abandoned the Lord when in power.
A senior party leader on Friday said: “For years, we were asked repeatedly what had happened to our Ram temple plank and the movement that we began in 1989. We had no answer. But now, after the verdict, we have the answer. If a Ram temple does come up in Ayodhya, we can say our movement has succeeded. It has delivered …”
While ruling out using the issue as a poll plank in Bihar or in Uttar Pradesh or elsewhere, party leaders were of the view that the process of legitimately constructing a Ram temple had begun and would help the BJP recover from the embarrassment of being seen to have abandoned the issue. It was claimed the “BJP never used Ram temple as a poll plank. For us, it was a core national issue ...,” although in the 1991 Lok Sabha poll campaign this was the BJP's main agenda.
In fact, in Bihar the verdict may have coincidentally helped to narrow down the differences between the BJP and its alliance partner, the Janata Dal (United), on the Ram temple at a time when the poll process in the State has begun and notifications have been issued for the first few phases of polls. “We were always for a Ram temple [at the disputed site] while the JD(U) favoured resolution through a verdict. Now a verdict has come, which we have welcomed,” said a senior party leader, indicating that there was no room left for any misunderstanding between the two parties on this issue.
The BJP view was that “politically” a sort of framework for some kind of resolution of the conflict has been opened up by the verdict. Its statement after the verdict talked about the opening of a “new chapter for national integration,” meaning a fresh start for Hindu-Muslim relations.