A sea of saffron was witnessed at Ramlila Maidan and roads leading to it in New Delhi as lakhs answered a Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) call for a ‘Dharm Sabha’ on Sunday.

Various estimates suggested that over a lakh were present at the mega gathering organised to press the Centre for the construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya.

The massive rally comes just two days before the commencement of Parliament’s winter session.

Amid chants of Jai Shree Ram, the gathering send across a message that the calls for a legislation to pave the way for the construction of the temple are now stronger.

At the rally, the executive head of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Suresh ‘Bhaiyyaji’ Joshi, gave a warning to the Union government for the temple construction.

“Those in power today had promised to construct the Ram temple. They should listen to people and fulfil the demand. They are aware of the sentiments (of people),” he said without naming the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led NDA government at the Centre.

“We are not begging for it. We are expressing our emotions. The country wants Ram rajya,” warned the powerful RSS leader.

VHP president Vishnu Sadashiv Kokje and its international working president Alok Kumar are also expected to address the rally.

VHP’s spokesperson Vinod Bansal had earlier told PTI that the gathering will change the hearts of all those who are not in favour of bringing the bill for construction of a grand Ram mandir in Ayodhya.

Reports say that most of the supporters came from Ghaziabad, Gautam Budh Nagar, Baghpat and Meerut – all of them neighbouring districts in western Uttar Pradesh. Visuals on TV showed thousands on the streets waving saffron flags and carrying posters showing a temple.

Anticipating the turnout, the Delhi traffic police had already placed diversions around Ramlila Maidan.

No traffic was allowed on Ranjeet Singh Flyover (from Guru Nanak Chowk to Barakhambha Road), JLN Marg (from Rajghat to Delhi Gate), Chaman Lal Marg near VIP gate.

Snipers were deployed on high-rises around the Maidan and other security arrangements were made.

The final Dharam Sansad’ will be held on 31 January and 1 February.

(With inputs from agencies.)