Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath held a two-hour meeting with top leaders of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh -- including its chief Mohan Bhagwat. The meeting comes in the backdrop of the recent reverses for the BJP in three by-elections in the state -- two of them in the prestigious seats held earlier by the Chief Minister and his deputy Keshav Maurya. It also follows the assurances by a top religious leader yesterday that a Ram temple will be built in Ayodhya ahead of next year's general elections.
The chief minister held talks with RSS executive head Bhaiyyaji Joshi for over two hours and they were later joined by Mr Bhagwat.
The meeting was expected to take stock of the BJP's losses in the recent by-polls and discuss the road ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
After the meeting, sources said among other things, the matter of next year's Kumbh mela in Allahabad was discussed. The BJP is making careful preparations for the religious gathering, from which lakhs of people come from all corners of the country. Sources said there are plans to invite more than 100 diplomats from various nations for the spectacle.
Support of the RSS and its affiliate organisations will play a key role ahead of next year's general elections in Uttar Pradesh - the state which sends the highest number of lawmakers in parliament.
The BJP is facing a big challenge in the state after the Samajwadi Party joined hands with Mayawati. The alliance, which came ahead of the by-elections in Gorakhpur and Phulpur, was consolidated following their victory. A united opposition stitched up after last month's Karnataka assembly elections took on the BJP in the next round of by-elections and wrested the Kairana parliamentary seat from the party.
Yesterday, sharing stage with Yogi Adityanath, a prominent religious leader and former BJP lawmaker Ram Vilas Vedanti, said the construction of a Ram temple would start at any cost before the 2019 national election.
Yogi Adityanath also referred to the temple plan, but obliquely. "When Lord Ram showers his blessings on Ayodhya, the Ram mandirwill definitely be built and there should be no doubt about it. At least there shouldn't be any doubt among saints," the Chief Minister said.
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