Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Wednesday, visited the temple town of Ayodhya for the very first time since he assumed the office in May 2014.

PM Modi addressed an election rally but surprisingly, did not mention the issue that is not only central to the place, but is also featuring as one of the topmost agenda of PM Modi’s party, the BJP, for almost three decades now, and has found a top place in the party’s manifesto for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Prime Minister Modi avoided talking about the Ram temple issue. He did not visit the makeshift Ram Temple either.

The rally was held at Gosainganj on the Ayodhya-Ambedkar Nagar border, about 25 km away from Ayodhya, to mobilise support for BJP candidates Mukut Bihari Verma (Ambedkar Nagar) and Lallu Singh (Ayodhya).

At the rally, the Prime Minister reproached the Opposition and the SP-BSP-RLD Alliance alike as he termed the alliance as “mahamilavati (contaminated)”, saying that these parties only want to grab power rather than work for the country.

Here too, his main focus was national security and terrorism. He asserted that his government has taken measures to check terrorism, which he said was the biggest threat to the country.

“We have given a strong message that this is ‘Naya Hindustan’, jo chhedega nahin magar chhodega bhi nahin. Hum bhi ghus ke marenge. (This is New India that will not spare anyone who tries to hurt it. We will hit the enemy in its territory),” he said.

He, however, admitted that though terror-related activities have been controlled, they have not been eliminated completely.

He also mentioned the grandeur with which “Dev Deepawali” was held in Ayodhya and the “Kumbh Mela” in Prayagraj (formerly Allahabad).

Charging at the Opposition he asked, “These parties should have been concerned about labourers but did they do anything? The Congress talks about removing poverty but has it done anything to remove poverty?”

He also listed the various welfare schemes initiated by his government for the poor.

Even though he did not mention the Ram Temple, he ended his speech with “Jai Shri Ram”.

Mahant Nritya Gopal Das, head of the Ram Janambhoomi Nyas, said he had wanted PM Modi to offer prayers at the makeshift Ram temple. “If the Prime Minister had sought the blessings of Ram Lalla, then nothing could be more beneficial for him. It would have sent a positive message across the country,” he said.

PM Modi had visited Ayodhya during the 2014 elections but even then he did not offer prayers at the makeshift temple.

(With agency inputs)