Even as the next general elections is two years away the BJP has already started working on a plan to turn Gyanvapi Mosque into a key poll issue in the next Lok Sabha elections to cash in on the Hindu sentiments. The dispute over the Kashi mosque said to be built on the ruins of the Vishwanath temple, seems to have become the bone of contention between the two communities even as the matter remains in the court.
BJP’s intention has come to the fore after the saffron party officially mentioned the Gyanvapi issue in its political resolution passed during a two-day state working committee meeting of the party held in Katihar town. The resolution was brought by former state chief Mangal Pande, currently serving as health minister in the Nitish Kumar-led NDA government in the state.
“Kashi ka Gyanvapi ho ya Kashmir ghati me faile Surya Mandir ke awashesh, sabhi Ram Mandir aur Kashi Vishwanath ki tarah wapas jeevant ho uthane ko tatpar hain (Be it Kashi’s Gyanvapi mosque or the ruins of the Sun Temple spread in the Kashmir Valley, all are ready to come back to life like Ram Mandir and Kashi Vishwanath),” reads the resolution passed at the two-day meet which concluded yesterday. It added that the “country under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is reviving the culturally-established identity after taking lessons from history”.
The move assumes significance in the light of the continuing Gyanvapi mosque-Vishwanath temple controversy, prompting the court to order a video-recorded survey of the mosque. Even as the matter remains pending in the court, the leakage of the video footage to the TV news channels highlighting a stone shaft that is the symbol of the Hindu deity Shiva has caused virtual anguish among the Hindu community. Now, the BJP apparently wants to cash in on the prevailing situation by aggressively mobilising public opinion over the issue.
Analysts say that the Gyanvapi issue, quite like Ayodhya’s Babri mosque which dominated the national politics for about three decades, has the potential to severely impact the poll outcome. They say the present issue being linked to people’s sentiments could overshadow even serious issues such as shooting inflation, growing unemployment, increasing petroleum prices, poverty, pollution, corruption and agricultural distress.
“Religion is a kind of spiritual opium which blunts the vision of the masses. We are really afraid this could dwarf all serious issues gripping the country,” commented a political expert.
“But what is further serious, there seems to be no end to the problem. After Ayodhya, we hoped for relief for some time, but now Kashi’s Gyanvapii and Mathura’s Shahi Idgah have come to dominate the national political scene again,” he added.
Bihar has a total of 40 Lok Sabha seats, and in the last 2019 polls, the NDA had made a virtual clean sweep, bagging 39 of them. While 17 seats were won by the BJP, the JD-U emerged victorious on 16 seats. Its other ally, the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP), then headed by Ram Vilas Paswan, won all the six seats it was given under the seat-sharing arrangements. From the Opposition side, the lone seat was won by the Congress while the main Opposition party, the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) headed by Lalu Prasad, failed to even open its account in the elections.