Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adtiyanath has kick-started campaigning for the upcoming civic polls in the state after releasing the election manifesto last week. In the latest update, it has been learnt that he will start the campaign from Ayodhya, the heart of the Ram Temple issue, which has garnered a lot of attention in recent times. Speaking to ANI, Yogi Adityanath said, “Ram ke bagair bhaarat mein koi kaam nahi ho sakta, Ram hamari aastha ke prateek hain, Bharat ki puri aastha ke kendra bindu hain” (No work can be done in the country without Lord Ram, He is symbol of our faith, He is the central point of the country’s faith). The UP CM also commented on Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s slated visit to Ayodhya, in a bid to open talks with stakeholders in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute, on November 16. He said that it didn’t matter who mediated the talks, as efforts on any level were good and worth welcoming. “Any effort of mediation and at any level is good and worth welcoming,” he told ANI.
Adityanath had visited the disputed Ram Janmabhoomi site after the mega pre-Diwali celebrations organized by his government in Ayodhya last month leading to criticism from rivals. During his visit, Adityanath had said that Ayodhya represented his personal beliefs and opposition parties had no right to question him on this matter. The civic polls are scheduled to be held in three phases from November 22, will be a litmus test for the Yogi government in India’s most populous state. This will be one of the first challenges for Adityanath, after the BJP came to power in the state in March, following a landslide victory. It must be noted that the civic polls in UP will involve as many as 652 urban local bodies across the entire length and breadth of the state.