Lord Ram’s temple leaves Congress at the crossroads | Bengaluru News

Lord Ram’s temple leaves Congress at the crossroads | Bengaluru News

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BENGALURU : The forthcoming consecration of the Ram idol at the temple in Ayodhya has cast a shadow of uncertainty over Congress in Karnataka.
BJP appears to be betting heavily on the Ram Mandir issue to shape its performance in the Lok Sabha elections likely in April and May and Congress, wary of being labelled anti-Hindu, finds itself in a delicate position.It has been oscillating between accepting and declining invitations to the Ayodhya event.
The confusion was palpable in recent remarks by chief minister Siddaramaiah and his deputy, DK Shivakumar. Siddaramaiah, acknowledging the ‘Ram’ in his name, remained undecided on attending the event, while also pointing out that he hasn’t been formally invited.
But Shivakumar emphasised the shared Hindu identity although he deferred the decision on attending to the All-India Congress Committee (AICC). A senior party functionary said, “The party might be constrained in taking a stand that would not cause electoral damage. However, we can’t be seen as not taking a stand. The choice, sadly, is not that simple.”
To counter BJP’s narrative, Congress has adopted a soft Hindutva stance. On Sunday, the government ordered all its 34,000 temples to hold a puja on January 22 to coincide with the conse cration of the Ram Mandir.
But the party is facing pressure from pro-Hindu organisations and rightwing organisations that want it to declare a holiday on January 22 to facilitate devotees to visit Ayodhya or watch the telecast of the event live.
Despite these challenges, Congress is confident that BJP’s polarised campaign centred on traditional Hindutva themes will not yield dividends in the Lok Sabha elections. The party’s optimism stems from the belief that voters will make decisions based on their own considerations, regardless of BJP’s attempts to influence the electoral atmosphere.
As evidence, Congress functionaries point out that BJP’s Hindutva-centric campaign — focus on issues like the ban on hijab and halal, urging voters to watch Bollywood film ‘The Kerala Story’ and raising a row over the plan to ban Bajrang Dal — backfired in the assembly elections.
Still, with BJP seizing every opportunity to leverage the Ram Mandir issue, Congress is in a dilemma.



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