The Bharatiya Janata Party's election promise of building a Ram Mandir at the disputed site in Ayodhya did not hold much weight in the temple town as prominent seers dismissed it as a 'political gimmick' and accused the party of trying to create a wedge between communities.
Acharya Satyendra das, head priest of the makeshift Ram Janmabhoomi temple, said it was "wrong" to link Ram Mandir - which was a matter of faith - with elections. "When the matter is sub judice, such promises by any political party are not trustworthy. We respect the law and will abide by the Supreme Court's decision."
Acharya Das accused the BJP of keeping the "people in the dark" over its plans for the Ram Mandir.
"The BJP says it coming to power will facilitate the construction of the temple. How? Have they presented any blue print? Their intentions are not clear," he said.
Mahant Damodar Das, the priest of the prominent Hanumangarhi temple, said the people had no faith in the BJP and were "fed up" of it politicizing the issue over again.
"They are once again fuelling an old issue just for political gains. The final decision will be legal, which shall be respected. What such promises do is create a wedge between communities. Over the years, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad - BJP has fractured the 'sadbhavana' (goodwill) in Ayodhya. But the people will not fall for it this time."
There is also a strong contempt for the VHP for the economic and social stagnation of the town.
"We feel like we are living in a prison," said Damodar Das, who is a national level office bearer of the Ram Janmabhoomi.
Support for Modi
Dev Morari Bapu, a katha vachak (who gives discourse), while admitting that the BJP "did nothing for the Temple or the saints" while it was in power, said that under BJP Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, it deserved a "final chance."
"If they fail to do anything concrete this time, then it is for all to understand that the party cheated us," he said.
The VHP, however, praised the BJP by raising a "core Hindu issue."
VHP secretary Sampath Rai said “Hindus of all parties should speak on it (Ram Mandir)” and protect the cultural heritage of the country.
He expressed confidence that if Mr. Modi is declared as PM, "the path of the Hindu Samaj would not be obstructed or Hindu sentiments hurt."
He said the detractors of the VHP had the democratic right to oppose it, but eventually the VHP would be proven right.