- Sankalp Yatra will run for 9 days before culminating at Ramlila Maidan.
- Organisers say lakhs of supporters will gather by the rally's final day.
- But only one truck and a few supporters could be seen on the road today.
A rally taken out by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in New Delhi to push for the early construction of the Ram temple got off to an underwhelming start today, with barely a hundred activists turning up to show support. The organisers had expected lakhs of people to participate.
Flagged off from New Delhi's Jhandewala temple, the Sankalp Yatra will run for nine days before culminating at the Ramlila Ground on December 9. It is being organised by the Swadeshi Jagran Manch, a group affiliated to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.
Swadeshi Jagran Manch co-convenor Kamal Tewari, however, tried to shrug off the poor showing at the event. "These are just a few karyakartas (activists) from a particular segment. Soon, they will be joined by another 100-200 karyakartas from a different segment. There are hundreds of karyakartas from different segments who will join us eventually," he said, adding that he expects to see around 6-8 lakh people at the Ramlila Maidan on the final day of the event.
The Ram temple issue has assumed significance ahead of the Lok Sabha elections next year, with several right-wing groups -- including the RSS and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) -- demanding an early decision. Organisers of the Sankalp Yatra believe that the Supreme Court is delaying its construction by not taking up the matter urgently, and want the centre to introduce an ordinance in this regard.
Today, the rally had just a few kar sevaks following a single truck -- raising chants of "Jai Shree Ram" and "Mandir Yahin Banayenge" -- and their count was not expected to grow significantly by the time the yatra halts for the day at Shadipur depot around 8 pm. By contrast, lakhs of people had attended a similar rally organised jointly by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Shiv Sena in Ayodhya on November 25.
An RSS supporter at the rally alleged that the judiciary was not treating the Ram temple issue with the importance it deserves. "We are taking out this rally to send a message to the Supreme Court. While the court opens its doors at night even for small cases, it doesn't believe the Ram temple is an important public matter," he said.