Prime Minister Narendra Modi has returned to Ayodhya today after 29 years. In 1992, he had taken a vow that he would return to the holy city in Uttar Pradesh only when a Ram mandir was built.

The last time PM Modi visited Ayodhya when he was convenor of the Tiranga Yatra, campaign led by Murli Manohar Joshi to scrap Article 370 that granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir.

Today also marks a year since the government decided to abrogate Article 370 and convert Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories.

Last year, PM Modi visited the border of Faizabad-Ambedkarnagar to address a rally ahead of the national election but he did not visit Ayodhya.

According to the Uttar Pradesh government, PM Modi is the first Prime Minister to visit Ram Janmabhoomi, which many believe is the birthplace of Lord Ram. He is also the first Prime Minister to visit Hanuman Garhi, the shrine to Hanuman, the UP government said.

The Ram Temple is central to the ruling BJP’s ideology and core election promises.

The “Bhoomi Pujan” ceremony holds special significance for PM Modi, who in 1990 was one of the organizers of a nationwide campaign to build a Ram temple to replace the 16th century Babri mosque on the site. PM Modi never made a visit to the site and largely avoided mentioning the issue in his rallies.

The temple campaign marked the emergence of the BJP as a national force in the 1990s.

The razing of the Babri mosque in December 1992 by Kar Sevaks led to riots across the country and changed India’s political discourse. Several top BJP leaders – LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharti – continue to faces charges for their alleged role in the events.


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