Lucknow : In two days, the grand consecration program is going to be held in the temple of Lord Shri Ram in Ayodhya. The government has already carried out development works in the temple town on a large scale. Also, to make the January 22 consecration event memorable, Ayodhya is being decorated, illuminated and beautified with works going on day and night.
In an exclusive interview to ETV Bharat, Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya, who witnessed the Ram Mandir movement from the opening of locks to the Pran Pratishtha program, spoke on the major events that took place during this historic journey.
Question: You played a very important role in the Ram Mandir movement. You were continuously active with Ashok Singhal ji. Tell us about the movement and your role during that period.
Answer: See, it is the good fortune of my life that today a grand temple is coming up at the same place where Ram Lalla was locked inside a tarnished structure. The Ram devotees who used to go to Ayodhya used to groan in pain after seeing this scene. Lord Ram, in whose name we complete the last journey of our life, is locked. I was also associated with that movement when the slogan was given 'Go ahead, speak loudly, open the locks of Shri Ram Janmabhoomi.' At that time, Congress was in power in the country. The government had to bow down to that movement and on February 1, 1986, the locks of Ram Lalla were opened.
Q: When the disputed structure was demolished, bullets were fired. The dead bodies of the kar sevaks were left in Saryu there as per reports. Were you there at that time?
A: Certainly I had reached Ayodhya. Coincidentally, I was not there where the shooting took place. At that time, Ram devotees were treated very cruelly. Ram devotees were unarmed. There was Mulayam Singh's government in the state, they opened fire and dead bodies of Ram devotees were piled up. Later, BJP government was formed in the state under the leadership of Kalyan Singh. After the formation of the government, Kar Seva was again announced on December 6, 1992. Lakhs of kar sevaks reached Ayodhya. I also arrived. I also had the privilege of taking part in the demolition of the structure.
Q: Lal Krishna Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharti, Sadhvi Ritambhara etc. also played a big role in this movement. How did these people instill enthusiasm among the people during the Rath Yatra?
A: Today I am proud that there is a BJP government in the country and I am the Deputy Chief Minister. In 1990, Ram Rath Yatra was started from Somnath to Ayodhya under the leadership of Lal Krishna Advani. The current Prime Minister of the country Narendra Modi was also involved and the facilitator in that journey. During his journey from Somnath to Samastipur in Bihar, he saw the pain of the people. Saw their devotion and anger. In 2014, the people of the country blessed our Prime Minister. Today, as Pradhan Servant, he is holding the reins of the country. From here all the obstacles in the construction of Ram temple started being removed.
Q: At present thousands of guests from across the country and the world are coming to Ayodhya. People also did not expect that Ayodhya would ever regain its old glory. How great an occasion is this for you personally?
A: Look, this is a moment of such great happiness for me, it would be difficult to even find words for it. The dream has come true and the construction of Shri Ram Temple has become possible. We are able to see it with our own eyes. I and crores of Ram devotees like me are also able to see.
Q: Crores of Hindus in the country are as happy as you about the Ram temple, but there is a slight regret that the Shankaracharyas were not invited or they are unhappy that the consecration ceremony took place even before the entire temple was built. How do you see this?
A: See, as a Ram devotee and Deputy Chief Minister, I offer my obeisance at the feet of my Shankaracharyas. It is the job of the Trust to send the invitations and I think the invitation has reached everyone. There is no opposition. Those doing politics of SP and Congress are spreading such false propaganda.
Q: Since you are also a politician, do you say the consecration event will have an impact on the upcoming Lok Sabha elections?
A: Look, I do not look at the grand temple of Ram Lalla in Ayodhya from a political point of view. Ram is our faith, reverence and belief. He is a symbol of the victory of righteousness over evil. Therefore, Ram temple should not be seen through the prism of politics. In 2024 we will win all the eighty seats in the state. On the basis of our work, we will get a lot of votes to make Narendra Modi the Prime Minister for the third time. Yes, if someone votes in the name of Ram, we will be happy.
Q: If you are going to win all the eighty seats in the state, does it mean that BJP has no fear of opposition alliance?
A: Where is the alliance, this is a 'thugbandhan' (an alliance of thugs). They are an alliance of leaders most of whom are accused of corruption. Some of them are looking for ways to avoid going to jail.
Q: If you are saying that you will contest elections on issues, then tell us what are the big schemes of the Center and the State, on the basis of which you will form the government at the Center for the third time?
A: Our government has done more work than what the previous non-BJP governments together could not do in Uttar Pradesh. On the basis of the work done by Narendra Modi's government, India is becoming famous all over the world. Self-reliant India is getting stronger. Powerful India is emerging. About 25 crore people have come out of the below poverty line.
Q: If there is so much, then why is your party not successful in South India?
A: You will see. This time the BJP will win in the North and also in the South. People have no idea how lotus will bloom all over India this time. Today the power of devotion to Ram is resonating in the country. Today common people are engaged in the programs of cleanliness of temples.