BJP defends Modi's 'Jai Sri Ram' chants at Dussehra rally

INDIA-RELIGION/DUSSEHRA Modi prays in front of artists dressed as Hanuman (C), Rama (3rd R) and Laxmana during Dussehra festival celebrations in Lucknow | Reuters

The Bharatiya Janata Party came in defence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi for chanting Jai Sri Ram during his Dussehra speech in Lucknow on Tuesday. The opposition parties had decried the move saying such slogans were aimed at Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections.

“There is nothing wrong in invoking Ram. His is our cultural icon. If one doesn’t say Jai Sri Ram during Dussehra, when can he do that? Only those, who do not believe in the Indian traditions, are raising objections,” BJP national secretary Shrikant Sharma said.

Sharma was reacting to objections raised by the Congress and some other parties who had linked the chants with the upcoming state elections. 

“These people—including Uttar Pradesh CM Akhilesh Yadav and BSP chief Mayawati—were against the BJP promoting the issue of development as they had questioned the PM’s visit to the state,” Sharma added.

The prime minister in his speech at Lucknow Ramlila had targeted Pakistan, though without naming it, and had warned those supporting terrorism. He began and ended his speech with the chants of Jai Sri Ram.

Jai Sri Ram chants had become a war cry during the Ram Temple movement. Construction of a Ram temple at Ayodhya is a part of the party’s election manifesto. The matter is before the Supreme Court and efforts were being made for the case to be heard on a daily basis.

VHP leader Pravin Togadia said now that the PM had raised the slogans, efforts should be made to build the temple.

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