Union Home Minister Amit Shah during a rally in Tripura on Thursday, where he also launched the BJP’s campaign for the forthcoming State Assembly polls with Chief Minister Manik Saha at the helm, announced that the Ram Temple at Ayodhya will be ready for inauguration on January 1, 2024.
“I want to tell Rahul [Gandhi]-baba, who always insisted on the date, that the ‘Gagan Chumbee’ of the Ram Mandir at Ayodhya will be ready for inauguration on 1st January of 2024,” he said at a public rally in south Tripura to flag off the ‘Jan Vishwas Yatra’ ahead of the Assembly elections.
Amit Shah addressed rallies at the two end points of Tripura — Dharmanagar in north Tripura and Sabroom in south Tripura. But it was at his speech at Sabroom that he invoked the Ram Temple, Article 370, and surgical strikes, which the party rarely touched upon in election campaigns in Tripura in the past. It indicated that the Ram Janmabhhoomi Temple, for which the BJP had undertaken a campaign in the 1990s, and which resulted in the destruction of the Babri Masjid, would be an important plank for the General Elections of 2024.
His speech at Sabroom also carried significance as he formally named Manik Saha as the chief ministerial candidate for upcoming State Assembly elections. He said Prime Minister Narendra Modi had given former Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb a different task in national politics. Mr. Deb was made the party’s in-charge for Haryana, and a Rajya Sabha member.
The Union Home Minister attacked the Congress and the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) for trying to block the abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution on a plea that the move will create a “blood bath” in Kashmir but, he said, “in past three years, nothing happened there as this is a government of Narendra Modi”.
He also condemned two successive Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) governments at the Centre for “allowing Pakistan-trained terrorists to commit havoc” in the Kashmir Valley, and compared this with the surgical as well as air strikes inside Pakistan conducted by the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) to avenge major terrorist attacks.
Mr. Shah said the BJP, after the installation of its government in Tripura in 2018, fulfilled the aspirations of the common people and ushered a new era of development in the State. Tearing into the previous CPI(M) led Left Front governments, he alleged that for every small issue, from drinking water to rations to the registration of a police case, one had to knock on the door of the Left cadres in Tripura.
He sounded confident that the people would retain the BJP government for a second term and benefit from the spate of development and welfare programmes currently in place across the State. “People will give us at least two-thirds majority. I am confident,” Mr. Shah said.
The Jan Vishwas Yatra, which featured a caravan of decorated vehicles filled with BJP party workers, was launched from Dharmanagar and Sabroom, and will hold 200 street meetings while covering a distance of 1,000 km. The rallies will culminate in Agartala on January 12 in the presence of the BJP’s national president, J.P. Nadda.