Uttar Pradesh Deputy CM Keshav Prasad Maurya’s claim that the Krishna Janmabhoomi is next on the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP’s) agenda, about two months before the assembly election, has sparked a political uproar in the state. Just days before the demolition anniversary of Babri Masjid and the fast approaching state election, this development is significant.
“Ayodhya Kashi bhavya mandir nirman jari hai, Mathura ki taiyari hai (grand temples are being constructed in Ayodhya and Kashi, preparations are on for Mathura),” said Maurya in a tweet posted in Hindi.
As Maurya reiterated his controversial tweet that a grand temple would be built in Mathura, he noted that similar projects were currently underway in Ayodhya and Varanasi. The Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha (ABHM) had earlier threatened to install a giant statue of Lord Krishna in Shahi Eidgah Masjid. The masjid management committee and others have been notified by another court in Mathura to respond to the plea for the removal of the 17th-century mosque near Lord Krishna’s birthplace.
Following Maurya’s tweet declaring the construction of grand temples in Kashi and Mathura, the organisation’s plan to perform Hindu rituals inside the masjid was cancelled. Maurya’s repeated statements on the issue came despite prohibitory orders in place in the town.
The city of Mathura is known as the birthplace of Lord Krishna. There are multiple lawsuits against the supposed temple site in Mathura, which is located inside a mosque constructed during the Aurangzeb era.
“Nobody will be allowed to disturb the peace and tranquillity in Mathura,” District Magistrate Navneet Singh Chahal had said then. The district administration in Mathura issued prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the CrPC following the announcement by the ABHM to install a Krishna idol at the deity’s “actual birthplace”, which it claims is inside the mosque.
As per Mathura SP Gaurav Grover, “Section 144 is in place and if anyone from any religion or community uses social media to spread rumours or incite religious passion, we will take very strict action.”
According to the opposition, Maurya’s tweet was an attempt by the BJP to influence religious sentiments ahead of the upcoming election in Uttar Pradesh. A Mathura court dismissed a petition earlier this year seeking to demolish a mosque adjacent to a temple on the site of Lord Krishna’s birthplace.
Samajwadi Party spokesman Rajendra Chaudhary responded, “The statement is a clear indication of the mindset of BJP leaders. The party always tried to communalise the elections. Ram mandir is always on the election agenda of the party. Once the construction of Ram temple has started at the behest of the Supreme Court, the party feels it is orphaned and therefore has come up with Mathura.”
“In the last assembly elections, the BJP had raised the issue of ‘shamshaan and kabristan’. Through this politically loaded tweet, Maurya, who is also deputy chief minister in the government, is setting the communal agenda of the election,” he further said.
It is expected that PM Narendra Modi will inaugurate the Kashi Vishwanath Corridor in Varanasi in the first week of December, while the construction of the Ram temple is moving along rapidly in Ayodhya and is expected to be opened to the public by December 2023. Mathura and Kashi are expected to be prominently featured in the BJP’s election manifesto, according to opposition leaders. The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh has always put Ayodhya, Mathura, and Kashi at the top of its agenda.