Ram Mandir consecration deemed non-political move: BJP member at ThinkEdu Conclave 2024

Prof Gourav Vallabh, national spokesperson for the Indian National Congress, critiqued the current government’s performance, challenging the idea of 'Ram Rajya' 
Visuals from the event | (Picture: TNIE)
Visuals from the event | (Picture: TNIE)

Bharatiya Janta Party’s (BJP) National Executive Member Khushbu Sundar dismissed the notion that the inauguration of Ram temple could be perceived as political bait, particularly in the southern states. She was speaking at a panel discussion on “Poll Position: Who Will Win the People’s Mandate?” at the two-day ThinkEdu Conclave 2024, presented by SASTRA University, in Chennai on Wednesday.  

Chaired by Santwana Bhattacharya, Editor of The New Indian Express, the discussion delved into the potential impact of the Ram temple consecration on elections in the south, specifically in Tamil Nadu. 

Reacting to the discussion of the Ram temple consecration, Annadurai asserted, “If you look at this consecration, it was very clear that it was a political move. They wanted to go ahead with the consecration because they thought we would not speak about any other issue. So, the idea of the BJP is to push back every other issue of the common man.  But, in Tamil Nadu, we have a government that prioritizes education. There are libraries in every district.” 

Bhattacharya set the tone by questioning the perceived influence of this event on the upcoming elections.

To this, Khushbu responded – “I would still like to accept the fact that BJP is a step behind in Tamil Nadu and Kerala. We have not found a great foothold till now. But, there is going to be a huge change in the next six to seven years. And this election is going to be challenging for us. We would like to believe that we are going to make a huge mark in the upcoming elections in 2024.”

Saravanan Annadurai, the official spokesperson of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) party, countered, stating, “Tamil Nadu people do not mix religion and politics. That is why we were able to ward off BJP in the state of Tamil Nadu. Though BJP in the last 10 years has made massive strides across the country, they were not able to make inroads in Kerala and Tamil Nadu.” He added that in matters concerning temples, the BJP consistently portrays DMK as anti-Hindu while positioning themselves as the party supportive of Hindus.

John Brittas, a member of Parliament (MP), emphasised the need to focus on restoring institutions and maintaining the sanctity of parliamentary democracy and federal principles. He expressed concerns over suspensions of MPs without valid reasons and urged to shift the political discourse from divisive issues.

“I, as an MP, am still under suspension and 146 MPs have been suspended without any reason. We acknowledge Ram. But, it is not the Ram of Modi but the Ram of Gandhi we acknowledge. It is Ram of compassion, not revenge.”

Prof Gourav Vallabh, national spokesperson for the Indian National Congress, critiqued the current government’s performance, challenging the idea of 'Ram Rajya.' 

“After Ram's consecration, now it is a turn for Ram Rajya. What is Ram Rajya? In Ram Rajya, every young person should have a job. But, the unemployment rate in the age group of 20 to 24 is 44.5% in October to December 2023.”

Apart from unemployment rates, he highlighted crimes against women, questioning whether these align with the principles of a just and equitable society.

“The second pillar of Ram Rajya is that every woman should have respect. As per the NCRB data of 2022, every 51 minutes, there is a crime against women. Is this Ram Rajya?”

He emphasised the importance of unity in diversity, discouraging discussions that prioritize one language over another, be it Hindi, English, or Telugu. “The essence of Ram Rajya lies in embracing every language in our diverse nation. We must champion a narrative focused on justice — justice for the youth to secure employment, justice for farmers, justice for women, justice for all, and justice for the democratic principles our nation upholds.”

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