Narendra Modi Rally with Lord Ram Backdrop Seized by Election Commission

Faizabad, Uttar Pradesh: In the final lap of his campaign in Uttar Pradesh, Narendra Modi, the BJP's prime ministerial candidate, slipped in Lord Ram's name and spoke with the Hindu God and a temple as his backdrop.

The Congress has complained against the use of religious symbols at Mr Modi's rally. It has  alleged that his campaign was based on "polarization, not development." (India Votes 2014: Full Coverage)

After UP's Chief Electoral Officer sought a report to ascertain if its rules were broken, the local administration has served a notice to Lallu Singh, the BJP candidate in Faizabad, for whom Mr Modi was campaigning. Mr Singh has to explain the use of the pictures of the temple and Lord Ram at the Modi rally. A 25 minute video recording of Mr Modi's speech has been sent to the poll panel.  
Mr Modi was speaking in Faizabad, a town right next to Ayodhya, where the 16th century Babri mosque was brought down by Hindu activists in 1992. The BJP's ideological mentor the RSS and its affiliates have been campaigning for a Ram temple at the disputed site. (Narendra Modi Sees Bright Side of Sonia Gandhi's Barb, Says "Ghee Shakkar" For Her)

He attacked the Samajwadi Party government' in the state for failing to provide jobs saying, "This is the land of Lord Ram where people believe that one may lose life but cannot break a promise. Can you pardon those who broke their promises?"

He also said, "I assure you from Bhagwan Ram's land, I will fight corruption throughout my life. I have seen poverty, that's why I have the courage to say this." (Narendra Modi's 'Kalavati' is Sanju Devi of Ambedkar Nagar)

But, only about six km away from Ayodhya, Mr Modi, 63, did not mention the Ram temple, once the core agenda of his party. He was clearly walking a political tightrope.

During much of his campaign for the national election, Mr Modi has distanced himself from overtly pro-Hindu agenda like the Ram temple campaign, and has pitched himself as a man of development.

The Congress said today's rally made it clear that Mr Modi and the BJP were banking on polarizing voters in Uttar Pradesh, India's most politically vital state with 80 parliamentary seats. "They have again returned to communal language, showing the Ram Mandir..." said the party's Kapil Sibal.
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