In his letter to the people of India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi mentioned the Ram Mandir judgement as one of the big achievements of his government’s first year in second term. Delivered on November 9, 2019, the judgement was fruition of saffron party’s three-decade long struggle, and its avowed commitment to construct a glorious temple at the birthplace of Lord Ram.
The pledge to construct the temple found its way in all BJP’s manifestos following the demolition of Babri Masjid in Ayodhya in December 1992. It never gave up on its core ideology that include abrogation of Article 370, Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizenship. The Supreme Court judgement, after a protracted legal battle, cleared the way for construction of the temple. “The Ram Mandir judgment, delivered unanimously by Supreme Court, brought an amicable end to a debate persisting for centuries,” Modi states in his letter to the people.
Coming, as it did, within the first year of Modi regime 2.0, the judgement gave the government enough time to fulfil its promise before the next Lok Sabha elections in 2024. Though the Shree Ram Janmabhoomi Teertha Kshetra Trust – set-up to oversee the construction work – had said the construction will be complete in three-and-a-half years, the Covid-19 lockdown is likely to push back the deadline. The Trust members say that there is enough cushion time to have the temple ready by 2024.
Before the lockdown was announced, the construction of the Ram temple at the site was in full swing. The stone-carvers and artisans were back at the karyashala after the Supreme Court order. Post-lockdown, they all went back home, mostly Rajasthan and Gujarat. However, the UP government officials say that the temple construction will start soon as the lockdown lifts.
BJP president J.P. Nadda also counted settling of Ayodhya issue as a significant achievement of Modi 2.0 in its first year. He blamed the “Congress governments” for the long delay. “With the dispute settled, all sides can now work in a united manner. A grand temple will soon be built at the site, and a mosque too shall be built on the land allocated for it,” Nadda said, addressing a video press conference.