The fall of saffron: Ayodhya’s political upset

‘Jo Ram ko laye hain, hum unko layenge’ slogan back fired on the saffron nationalists in Ayodhya. In the 2024 Lok Sabha election, Awadhesh Prasad of Samajwadi Party emerged victorious by 54,500 votes over sitting Bhartiya Janta Party’s MP Lallu Singh. 

| Updated: 05 June, 2024 7:15 pm IST

NEW DELHI: ‘Jo Ram ko laye hain, hum unko layenge’ slogan back fired on the saffron nationalists in Ayodhya. In the 2024 Lok Sabha election, Awadhesh Prasad of Samajwadi Party emerged victorious by 54,500 votes over sitting Bhartiya Janta Party’s MP Lallu Singh. A shocking defeat came into account of BJP from Uttar Pradesh as it was not expected after the showdown of Ram Temple Consecration ceremony on January 22 this year arranged by the BJP.

The recent Lok Sabha election in Ayodhya has sent shockwaves through the political landscape, as the incumbent Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) suffered a surprising defeat at the hands of Awadhesh Prasad of the Samajwadi Party. This unexpected turn of events has raised questions about the BJP’s stronghold in Uttar Pradesh and the impact of the Ram Temple Consecration ceremony on the electorate.

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The BJP’s campaign in Ayodhya was heavily centered around the Ram Temple issue, with promises of upholding Hindu interests and delivering on the long-awaited, about 500 years wait of temple construction. But more than 80% Hindu population denied the propaganda and made BJP realise that deceiving voters with the name of religion and god would yield nothing but loss.

The rhetoric of “Jo Ram ko laye hain, hum unko layenge” was meant to rally the saffron nationalist sentiment and consolidate support for the party. However, the outcome of the election suggests that this strategy may have backfired.

Awadhesh Prasad’s victory by a significant margin of 54,500 votes over the sitting BJP MP Lallu Singh is a clear indication that the electorate has expressed their discontent with the BJP’s performance and policies. This defeat is particularly striking given the recent high-profile Ram Temple Consecration ceremony on January 22, which was expected to bolster support for the ruling party.

The people of Ayodhya were apprehensive about the BJP candidate winning, as they feared that the party might seek to amend the constitution after securing a significant majority. The BJP’s target of winning over 400 seats was used by the opposition to propagate the slogan “400 par,” implying that the BJP would alter the constitution if they achieved such a large majority.

The issues facing the people of Ayodhya played a crucial role in shaping the outcome of this election. Despite the symbolic significance of the Ram Temple, the voters have shown that their concerns extend beyond religious symbolism. Issues such as economic development, infrastructure, and social welfare have evidently influenced their voting decisions. The people of Ayodhya have expressed their dissatisfaction with the construction of a chain of luxury hotels from outside investors, as well as the neglect of local business owners.

The “Panda” community has also voiced their anger towards the BJP, citing the appointment of outsiders as “pandits” in the temple and feeling neglected. Additionally, concerns have been raised about the widening of roads and the lack of inclusion of the OBC community in state policy-making. These issues, along with the perceived influence of outsiders, are believed to have contributed to the BJP’s defeat in the Faizabad seats. It is evident that the electorate has demanded more tangible improvements in their daily lives, and they have chosen to hold their representatives accountable.

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The positioning of the candidates also played a pivotal role in this election. While the BJP relied heavily on its religious and nationalist agenda, Awadhesh Prasad of the Samajwadi Party appears to have resonated with the ‘Dalit’ community of voters, the largest vote-bank in the region. He comes from the ‘Pasi’ community and connected more himself with other neglected communities as well. His victory reflects a shift in priorities among voters, emphasizing the caste dominance and real issues on the ground like unemployment and inflation.

The unexpected victory of Awadhesh Prasad in Ayodhya signifies a significant shift in political dynamics, emphasizing the evolving priorities of voters and the need for substantive governance. It is a clear message to all political stakeholders that electoral success hinges on genuine engagement with the issues that matter most to the people.

The defeat of the BJP in Ayodhya serves as a wake-up call for political parties across the country. It underscores the importance of addressing substantive issues that affect people’s lives, rather than relying solely on emotive or symbolic appeals. It also highlights the dynamic nature of Indian democracy, where voters are increasingly demanding accountability and tangible results from their elected representatives.

As we look ahead to future elections, it is imperative for political parties to listen to the voices of the people and prioritize their needs. The outcome in Ayodhya reminds us that electoral success is contingent on understanding and addressing the real challenges faced by communities, and not just relying on grand gestures or rhetoric. Only by embracing this approach can parties hope to earn the trust and support of the electorate.

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