UP Polls: Ram Ki Paidi, calls for tourism, issues other than Ram Mandir in Ayodhaya

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New Delhi | Published: February 27, 2017 10:55:55 PM

Ram Prasad Sonkar, a paanwalla near the disputed site, says the temples in the town have become a commercial practice.

ram ki paidi, ram ki paidi ayodhya, issue in ayodhya contituency, ayodhya constituency pawan pandey, ayodhya contituency bjp, ayodhya constituency winner, winner ayodhya contituency. Ram Prasad Sonkar, a paanwalla near the disputed site, says the temples in the town have become a commercial practice. (Express Photo: Praveen Khanna)

Have you ever heard of Ram Ki Paidi? The site is of significance just like Haridwar’s popular Har Ki Pauri is situated in District Faizabad’s Ayodhya constituency. Most of the people outside Ayodhya, who keep listening about Ram Temple issue during elections, have never heard of this site. Not only Ram Ki Paidi, there are a number of temples in relegiously important place, which if promoted the way done in Mathura, or Haridwar, could have become an attractive pilgrimage site. However, the scenario is complete contrary. If locals are to be believed, the place has been neglected constantly by the lawmakers elected from here. In a report by the Indian Express, many localites assert that more than Ram Mandir, there are more local issues in the area which needs to be addressed here.

In 2012 Assembly Elections, BJP lost first time here in past 25 years. The constituency, which became the turf for Ram Mandir movement, is matter of prestige for the saffron party. “No one cares about the temple in Ayodhya,” says Durga Prasad Maurya, a taxi driver who claims to have witnessed the demolition as a teenager, said to The Indian Express.Maurya says that people in Ayodhya are tired of hearing the Ram Temple promise. He adds that people want work opportunities and development. Pointing out an important issue, Maurya says that the birthplace of Rama, “should have been the biggest pilgrimage site in the country”. “But more people go to Haridwar because it has been developed and promoted,” he adds.

Other locales complaint that temples in area have become business. Ram Prasad Sonkar, a paanwalla near the disputed site, says the temples in the town have become a commercial practice. Sonkar says one cannot imagine the amount of money that donated in Ayodhya temples. He claims if the priests even spend just 10 per cent of donated amount on Ayodhya’s development “it will transform lives of people”.

Some of the locals complaint that most temples in area are headed by mahants who came from Bihar after the demolition and took control. “There is a gunfight every year for control of temples,” 22-year old Rajan Pandey told the Indian Express. People here say they stopped talking about the temple long ago, although BJP leaders have once again raked it up.

Saffron party’s candidate Lallu Singh had held the seat for five consecutive terms till 2012, while the seat slept from BJP’s hands to SP’s Pawan Pandey in 2012. BJP has changed its candidate for Ayodhya this time. It will be a matter of prestige for BJP to take snatch-back this seat from rival SP this time.

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