Ruling BJP has announced a string of sops in the name of Lord Ram like a detailed research on Ram Setu

Secular approach in the last parliamentary polls did not fetch enough seats for BJP In the State

In Ram Setu, it has found a new electoral plank to mobilise Hindus against its political rivals

Bhopal: Apparently setting the tone for the upcoming Assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh, the ruling BJP has announced a string of sops in the name of Lord Ram including financing a comprehensive research work on the Ram Setu to capitalise the most on the emotive issue and revive its Hindutva vote bank.

“The move is also apparently aimed at countering the Congress-led UPA government’s initial move before the Supreme Court to deny even the very existence of Lord Ram,” a top State official said, adding the issue has come handy for the BJP ahead of Assembly polls later next year as also in the wake of possible mid-term general elections.

Cashing in on the UPA Government’s decision to file an affidavit and again backtracking on Ram Setu issue, the state BJP staged a dharna at every district headquarters on Tuesday coinciding with Gandhi Jayanti and even went to the extent of demanding dismissal of the Manmohan Singh Government. The protestors also recited ‘Ramdhun’ and Mahatma Gandhi’s favourite ‘Raghupati Raghava Raja Ram...’ Analysts say the BJP seems to have found a new electoral plank in Ram Setu to mobilise Hindus against its political rivals in the State keeping in view that its secular approaches in the last parliamentary polls did not fetch enough seats.

To further encash the negative sentiments generated against the Centre on the Sethu Samudram issue by millions of people across the country, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan, while speaking at a Gandhi Jayanti function here, announced an international conference on Ram to establish his reality. “A team of historians and archaeologists will work on Mr. Chauhan’s ambitious project to give a befitting reply to the Centre’s affidavit that Ram did not exist,” the official said.

Ramayan Mela

The State Government would also organise an international Ramayan Mela, before the Assembly elections, where sadhus, saints and historians from countries of South and Southeast Asia, China and Mexico among others would participate “to establish the credentials of Ram and the path chosen by him during his 14-year exile”.

Mr. Chauhan also announced the development of places which Ram passed by during his days of exile. These include Ramcharan, Ramvan and Kamadgiri in Satna and Vidisha districts. Chitrakoot, a prominent religious place on the Uttar Pradesh-Madhya Pradesh border and associated with Ram, would also be developed as a special cultural area, Mr. Chouhan said, adding Leela Gurukul will also be established there.

Analysts say Mr. Chauhan selected Gandhi Jayanti to push his party’s Ram agenda with a view to mobilise public support in favour of the saffron party. He declared his government would start conserving all places associated with Gandhi in the State. These include setting up of a memorial at the Government Benazir College ground.

Setting himself in election mode, Mr. Chauhan has reshuffled ministers, district in-charges and other party officials apparently to revitalise the state unit. He held a marathon meeting of these ministers including the party’s state office bearers to ensure effective implementation of various programmes. -- PTI