M A I N   N E W S

In Faizabad, Modi invokes Lord Ram to woo voters
Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 5
It was an issue which BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi seems to have deliberately underplayed in these elections. But with elections poised to enter a critical phase, today he appeared to steer the campaign back to the basics.

With a portrait of Lord Ram forming the backdrop, Modi invoked original poll plank of the saffron party at a rally in Faizabad, located barely 5 km from Ayodhya — the birthplace of Lord Ram.

Modi asked people to teach the Congress and those who support it a lesson for not fulfilling electoral promises and letting them down. Though he skirted any direct reference to building the Ram temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya — the epicentre of Ram Mandir movement — he made several references to Lord Ram.

Modi said when Mahatma Gandhi was asked about his idea of an ideal nation, he said there should be Ram Rajya. By Ram Rajya, Mahatma meant development for all, he explained. Senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha defended Modi, saying when he has talked of Lord Ram it was in reference to development issues.

“Ram Rajya” is a reference point for anyone talking of good governance, he said, adding that if the Election Commission has taken a note then the BJP will first have to see what it had to say.

Though coming on the last leg of the elections in electorally crucial Uttar Pradesh, this is being seen as an attempt to appease those who are feeling left out in Modi’s focused attention on development and good governance issue. The fact that it comes a day after Modi’s key aide Amit Shah called Azamgarh, the bastion of ruling Samajwadi Party, a base of terrorists, observers feel that the BJP wants to fire all the ammo it has to achieve the results it wants from UP.

Party leaders also point how Ram temple at Ayodhya was a part of the BJP’s manifesto and, therefore, will always remain a key issue with the party. In these elections, Modi has largely focused on issues like good governance, corruption and development. Sources say today’s attempt was a subtle message for those feel Ram Mandir issue had been abandoned.

The RSS cadre is a key player in these elections and sources say there are directions from the Sangh Parivar to address the group which is feeling “left out”. “If he (Modi) did not do it (invoke Lord Ram) in Faizabad where else would he have had the chance?” they say.

EC seeks report

Lucknow: Within hours of Narendra Modi invoking Lord Ram at a rally in Faizabad, the Election Commission sought a report from the district authorities about his speech and the stage backdrop. “I have sought a report on Modi’s speech and backdrop of the stage at the rally from the District Magistrate, Faizabad,” said Uttar Pradesh Chief Electoral Officer Umesh Sinha. PTI





HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |