Maharashtra: With Cries Of 'Ram Mandir' On Lips, 2000 Shiv Sena Workers Head To Ayodhya
With cries of ‘Jai Shree Ram’, ‘Chalo Ayodhya’ on their lips, at least 2000 Shiv Sainiks (members of Shiv Sena) boarded two special trains from Thane and Nashik to make their way to Ayodhya with demands of ‘Pehle mandir, phir sarkar’ (First temple, then government).
After the Thane mayor Meenakshi Shinde performed ‘aarti’ at the engines, the Sainiks sporting their saffron caps and scarfs, armed with placards, left in two special Ayodhya-LTT trains to attend the ‘maha aarti’, ‘maha sabha’ and mega rally organised over the weekend. Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray announced this Ayodhya ‘yatra’ during his Dussehra rally. Reportedly, Thackeray will not hold the proposed rally in Ayodhya, instead, he will have a ‘dialogue’ with the people.
“We have been hearing about the government’s promises to build the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya for the past few elections, and now it is high time they speed up the process,” said Shiv Sena corporator Naresh Mhaske, reported The Times of India.
The women and youth members of the party were missing from the train. When The Times of India asked a party member why was it so, they were told that the women and youth members will be holding simultaneous ‘aartis’ in different parts of the country.
BJP-Shiv Sena together?
Despite the Bharatiya Janata Party dropping hints that they want the Shiv Sena in their National Democratic Alliance for the 2019 elections, the Maharashtra party seems to have little regard for the BJP-Sena alliance.
Although ideologically similar, the two parties have been at loggerheads for a myriad of issues. This time around, the bickering is over the Ram Mandir issue. The agenda of Ram Mandir has been a primary reason for BJP’s rise to power. The Shiv Sena says that even after being in power for the last four and a half years, the construction of Ram Mandir has not even started.
The politically significant tour of the Shiv sainiks to the holy city is mostly to call for the construction of Ram Mandir before the 2019 elections. They believe by not starting the construction, BJP has been failing to adhere to the promises they made.
Shiv Sena has made it clear that they would like to fight the elections independently. Uddhav Thackeray has even said that BJP’s Ram Mandir promise was only a ‘jumla’ and has said that given a chance, their party would start the construction because they believe in “temple before government”. Further, he has also criticised the BJP for putting unnecessary terms and conditions on Shiv Sena’s Ayodhya visit. He said that when BJP leaders go to Nepal or anywhere else, they do it without a fuss.
Shiv Sena’s significance in Uttar Pradesh is quite less and this rally might not potentially alleviate their position in the state electorally, but this puts BJP in a compromising position, as they are ideologically going towards the same direction.
However, there still seems a chance of the BJP-Sena alliance. “We view the criticism as our duty to bring an erring friend back on the right track,” Sena MP Arvind Sawant said.