Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address a rally near Ayodhya on May 1, before the fifth phase of the national elections, during which polling will be held in the area. This is the first time since coming to power in 2014 that he would visit the area - a move that's expected to fuel the claims of right-wing groups and allies like Shiv Sena that the BJP uses the temple issue to draw votes.
Leaders of the ruling BJP say the rally will take place in Maya Bazaar, an area just outside Ayodhya town -- just 25 km from the site of disputed site of the 16th Century mosque that was razed in 1992 by Hindu activists who believe that it stood on the site of a temple that marked the birthplace of the Lord Ram.
In the run-up to the election, PM Modi's government was under huge pressure from the right-wing groups to expedite the building of the temple, bypassing the legal process through an ordinance or executive order.
While PM Modi had said that no decision could be made on the issue until the judicial process is over, his visit is seen as a message to convey the BJP's commitment to the temple building.
Before the 2014 national election, PM Modi had addressed a rally in Faizabad as well. His address had several mentions of the Lord Ram, but he had avoided talking about a Ram temple.
The image of a proposed grand temple and Lord Ram formed the backdrop as he made his speech, which led to a huge controversy and Congress complaints of violation of the poll code through the use of religious symbols.
The temple issue - a key demand of the BJP for decades -- was not at the forefront of the party's 2014 manifesto, which was built around the promise of development.
This time, it was again relegated towards the back. The party said it would "explore all possibilities within the framework of the constitution and all necessary efforts to facilitate the expeditious construction of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya."
The title suit in the Ayodhya case has been pending in the Supreme Court for years. In March, following the top court's order, a mediation committee is consulting all stakeholders to arrive at an amicable solution. They have eight weeks to arrive at a decision.
The Lok Sabha seat in the area, Faizabad, will vote on May 6. The votes will be counted on May 23.
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