Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav's suggestion that the Supreme Court order Army deployment at Ayodhya in view of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad's Dharam Sabha found support from unexpected quarters today, with Uttar Pradesh Minister OP Rajbhar describing the mass gathering of right-wing elements in such a sensitive area as a "failure of the government".
Mr Rajbhar, who has often been critical of the BJP government in the state, was especially concerned about the widespread flouting of restrictions in the city. "The Chief Minister is interested in election campaigning at a time when Section 144 has been imposed in Faizabad (Ayodhya). This means that the administration has failed, and the Army should be brought in," the Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP) leader said, adding that he welcomes Mr Yadav's statement.
The local administration had imposed Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, restricting the assembly of four or more people, as a precautionary measure in the city.
Although the SBSP is an ally of the BJP in Uttar Pradesh, Mr Rajbhar never lets that temper his criticism of the Yogi Adityanath government. Earlier this month, he had declared that the Ram temple agitation is nothing but a "drama" that plays out every time the elections approach. A few days on, he asked Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath to rename Muslim leaders in the BJP before changing the names of towns and cities. Uttar Pradesh BJP president Mahendra Nath Pandey subsequently termed Mr Rajbhar as a "necessary evil who shouldn't be taken seriously".
The Samajwadi Party chief had told the media on Friday that summoning the Army to Ayodhya may be required because "the BJP can go to any extent" to further its political ambitions. "The BJP does not believe in either the Supreme Court or the constitution. The Supreme Court should take note of the prevailing environment in Uttar Pradesh and bring in the Army, if necessary," Mr Yadav said.
The Hindutva gathering in Ayodhya comes at a time when many political and religious leaders, including Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh leader Mohan Bhagwat, have demanded an ordinance to ensure the early construction of the Ram temple at Ayodhya.
(With inputs from ANI)
Get the latest election news, live updates and election schedule for Lok Sabha Elections 2019 on ndtv.com/elections. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and Instagram for updates from each of the 543 parliamentary seats for the 2019 Indian general elections.