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December'19

Ram Temple: The Original Game Plan

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This also is a pointer to the plans of the ruling party on how to capitalise on the victory and make most capital out of it

The number of devotees thronging Ayodhya, to have a glimpse of the old Ram temple at the disputed site has been swelling since the Supreme Court verdict awarded the disputed land in entirety to the Hindus, ending 69 years old litigation.

This also is a pointer to the plans of the ruling party on how to capitalise on the victory and make most capital out of it.

According to a report, grandiose plans are afoot to catapult Hinduism’s most revered city to the glory of Lord Ram’s ‘treta yug’ and surpass the Vatican and Makkah in annual footfall. And the blueprint for this magnificent makeover has been hammered out by the consulting firm Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC).

Recreating the Era of Ram

The Times of India report further says that while recreating the era of Ram at a sprawling Vedic village on Saryu banks, the PwC layout also seeks to provide the temple town with modern infrastructure. Sources said the state government gave an ‘in-principle’ nod to PwC’s plan earlier this week after the Sangh parivar green flagged the mega project. The cost outlay would be worked out after every details in the blueprint is finalised by the consultancy firm, developers and the state government.

PwC, which recommended a complete revamp of infrastructure, logistics, services and ambience of the existing town, also stated that once the Ram temple is constructed, the footfalls is expected to spiral around 2 crore annually and could outpace pilgrim count at Amritsar’s Golden Temple.

Chain of Luxury Hotels

A senior government official said to cater to swelling crowds at Ayodhya, the infrastructure has to be bolstered not just the wealthy, but also from humble background. The state government plans to construct at least six 5-star hotels, seven 3-star hotels and 4,000 dharamshalas in the city.

Also, mutths, mandirs and lanes of Ayodhya would be renovated and beautified. Five RoBs (Railway over bridges) would straddle the temple town and all roads leading to the city from Sultanpur, Basti, Prayagraj and Varanasi would be widened into six-lane for seamless traffic movement.

Hindu Pilgrimage Circuit 

Similarly, a Hindu pilgrimage circuit will be developed along the lines of the Buddhist and Agra circuits, making Ayodhya the nodal point. Also, modern eateries and vending zones will provide cuisine and ethnic food of different states.

During the presentation, the government was also flooded with enquiries from major tour operators to be allowed to set up offices in Ayodhya for tour packages and operations, including running luxury buses for tourists. A cruise service, a commercial airport and a bus station with modern facilities to handle 4,000 buses daily has already been finalised by the state government.

More could be read into this news aligning it with the SC decision which has already said that the onus for building a new Ram Temple should be given to a new trust, thus ousting the Ram Janambhoomi Nyas and Trust and outfits like Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Bajrang Dal etc which had spearheaded the movement for building a Ram temple so far and allegedly have collected hundred of crores of rupees for the purpose, so far.

New Trust, Funds and Finance

Since the constitution of the new trust is yet to be formailsed, many feel that it would comprise of faces close to the ruling party, in addition, the mechanism to regulate the finances of the trust are also to modelled yet. This creation of a new trust, instead of the old warring outfits, being given the control of the construction and maintenance of the new temple means that the ruling party wants to control it tightly. 

As the amount of contribution to it may exceed billions of rupees, in effect, the ruling party might use that money to finance its political projects, thus making it less reliant on business funds, which ultimately have to be repaid. Also it would ensure continuous funding for the party.

Continued Source of Revenue

Thus, the construction, finances, management and execution of the new temple may be entrusted to the new trust, which in turn will be guided by the business models of the Vatican and the Makkah, according to reports. This, in reality means that the ruling party is trying to target billions of tourists annually to the new temple, besides a continued source of revenue to the party fund. 

As the other ambitious projects of the ruling party, such as the installation of the tallest statue of Hindu Lord Ram in Ayodhya seems to have run into rough weather with strong resentment brewing over acquisition of land for the project, the party needs another source of continued funding to sustain its political activities.

The Ram statue project was to be spread over 100 acres on the banks of the Saryu. The statue itself would have been 251 metres tall positioned on a 50 metre tall stand, and was supposed to be the world’s tallest statue, once built.

Vote Bank Politics

Moreover, all the while the temple will be built, it will also continue to help the party to keep its major vote bank satisfied, providing it much needed support from lowest to highest elections and whenever needed.

Thus right from the beginning the BJP’s strategy was to rope-in foot soldiers from other hardwing smaller outfits, which also provided the muscle for it, and when the ultimate time to reap the benefits of the temple movement came, it sidelined all those outfits and stepped in to take over the mantle and coffer both. Providing it with long term annuity.

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