Opposition sees PM Narendra Modi projecting self as ‘Hindu Hriday Samrat’, politicising Ram Temple

CPI(M)'s Sitaram Yechury said the inauguration of the temple represents an overt politicisation of religion, which contradicts the Constitution.

BySouth First Desk

Published Dec 29, 2023 | 5:59 PMUpdatedDec 29, 2023 | 5:59 PM

politicising Ram Temple

The BJP is set to contest the 2024 Lok Sabha polls on the issue of Hindutva by projecting Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the “Hindu Hriday Samrat”, Congress leader Shashi Tharoor said on Friday, 29 December.

In a post on X, Tharoor noted that Modi is set to inaugurate the Ram Temple in Ayodhya on 22 January and the BAPS Hindu Temple in Abu Dhabi on 14 February, following which the general election would be announced.

“Where’s the promised ‘acche din’?”

The Congress MP from Thiruvananthapuram said the Lok Sabha election is shaping up to be a Hindutva versus popular welfare battle and questions on economic growth, creating two crore jobs a year and putting disposable income into the pockets of every Indian need to be debated.

“The message is clear. In 2009, Mr Modi was sold to the Indian electorate as the avatar of economic development, the CEO of Gujarat Inc., who would bring development to all Indians. In 2019, with that narrative collapsing in the wake of the disastrous demonetisation, the Pulwama terrorist attack gave Mr Modi the opportunity to convert the general election into a national security election,” Tharoor said.

“In 2024, it is clear the BJP will now revert to its core message and offer Narendra Modi to the nation as a Hindu Hriday Samrat,” he added.

“Hindu Hriday Samrat” literally translates to the emperor of Hindu hearts.

“All of this begs the question: what happened to achhe din? What happened to two crore jobs a year? What happened to economic growth that would benefit the lower rungs of the socio-economic ladder? What happened to putting disposable income into the pockets and bank accounts of every Indian?” the Congress leader asked.

“These questions will have to be debated in an election that is shaping up to be Hindutva versus popular welfare,” the former Union minister said.

To attend or not: Confusion in Congress over Ram Temple ceremony invite

‘BJP is treating it as a political inauguration’

The Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), a key ally of the Congress-led UDF in Kerala, accused the BJP of exploiting the consecration ceremony of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya for political purposes.

The IUML expressed hope that secular forces would recognise this political manoeuvre of the BJP.

Amid increasing uncertainty in the Congress’s Kerala state unit on the political stance the party should take regarding the invitation to its national leadership for the ceremony, the IUML urged the Congress to take an independent decision.

“The BJP is treating it as a political inauguration for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls. The Prime Minister and others have launched a political propaganda aimed at the next Parliamentary election,” IUML National General Secretary PK Kunhalikutty told reporters after the party’s political affairs committee meeting.

Alleging that the saffron party is politicising the event by differentiating between those who participate in it and those who don’t, Kunhalikutty said, “The BJP government’s target is the next parliamentary elections. The League highly respects the faith and freedom of worship of the Hindu community. No comment on that. But the opening of the Ram temple is being used politically.”

He said the issue is political, not religious, and called on every political party, especially those with secular views, to realise this and take independent decisions.

On the Congress’s stand, Kunhalikutty said, “Congress has its own set up, leadership. They are facing a lot of problems. Let them take an independent decision.”

IUML supremo Sadiq Ali Shihab Thangal added that the IUML supports the faithful on the issue but cannot accept the attempt to turn it into a political agenda for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.

The IUML’s statement is seen as an attempt to exert pressure on the Congress’s state unit, which is in a difficult position regarding the invitation extended to its national leaders for the consecration ceremony next month.

The Ram Temple will be inaugurated on 22 January, where Prime Minister Modi, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, and more than 6,000 people are expected to attend the grand “Pran Pratistha” ceremony.

Also Read: Amit Shah invokes Ram Temple in Telangana, promises free trips

‘Contradicts the principles of the Constitution’

CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury said that the inauguration of the Ram Temple in the presence of other Constitutional functionaries, was a “gross misuse of religious sentiments” for BJP’s political gain.

Addressing the media, Yechury said that the Constitution clearly defines secularism as the separation of religion from politics and the state.

Yechury said that the inauguration of the temple represents an overt politicisation of religion, which contradicts the principles of the Constitution.

“Here, this function, the inauguration is going to be done by the Prime Minister of India in the presence of the UP Chief Minister and those who hold other Constitutional positions. We feel this is a gross misuse of the religious sentiments of the people for their (BJP) political purposes. This is the open politicisation of religion which is not in consonance with the Constitution or the Supreme Court rulings,” Yechury said.

He said that the strategy to counter this politicisation was to strictly adhere to secularism.

“You cannot combat this sort of religious fundamentalism of all these Hindutva offences by being a soft Hindutva or a soft saffron approach,” the senior Left leader said.

Yechury also attacked the BJP-led NDA government on various aspects, including the issue of surveillance and the alleged failure of the economy.

Ram Temple ceremony: Congress chief Kharge, Sonia Gandhi get invitations

‘A surveillance state has been put in place’

Referring to the recent issue of Apple phone notifications in connection with intrusion or monitoring of handsets, he said, “This is a surveillance state that has been put in place” and it was not merely an intrusion into our privacy, which it is, but it is much more than that.

“It is a surveillance state where everything is being monitored. Even conversations,” he added.

The Left leader rubbished the BJP’s claim of a “vibrant economy” and termed it as propaganda.

“As far as people are concerned, the last 10 years is the worst as far as their livelihood is concerned. Unemployment is at the highest. This government has been doing a lot of data fudging. Manipulation of data. And now they have added a new category to the employment of unpaid labour,” Yechury said.

He claimed that there is an inability for the industry to grow in the country due to lack of domestic demand.

‘Purchasing power is declining’

“As far as the industry is concerned, its inability to grow is because of the lack of domestic demand. People don’t have the money or purchasing power. For the bulk of the Indian people, their actual purchasing power is declining. And when there is no demand, there are no future investments,” he said.

Yechury said that as per the government’s own projection for this fiscal year, the proposals for new investments have come down by more than 70 percent, both in the private and governmental sectors.

The Left leader also pointed out that in terms of per capita income, India is at 142nd position out of the 180 countries.

“We have the lowest per capita income of all the G20 countries. We have the lowest HDI. The people’s miseries are growing; unemployment, price rise, hunger index etc but the Central government dismisses all the global indices,” Yechury said.

He said with the current situation of the working people, their struggle will intensify and will impact the 2024 elections.

(With PTI inputs)