Ayodhya: With the focus now on the trust that will be formed to oversee the construction of the Ram temple in Ayodhya, politics on the issue is gaining ground.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has already asked the officials from the ministries of law, home affairs and culture to study the Supreme Court judgment and work out the modalities of the proposed trust at the earliest.
As if on the cue, a row has begun between the saints and various Hindu organisations for a place in the trust. Politics is being played out in the holy city on this issue and the saints are not hesitating to promote themselves and even downgrade others for a place in the trust.
It is clear that those who get a place in the trust would automatically be entitled to the credit for building the Ram temple.
The general buzz in Ayodhya is that the most likely inclusion in the trust would be Mahant Nritya Gopal Das, the chief of the Ram Janmabhoomi Trust.
The main reason for this is that the Nyas has been spearheading the temple movement since the early ’90s and has been held in high esteem by BJP leaders.
The Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas was founded as an independent trust by the members of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) in January 1993 to take charge of the site of Ram Janmabhoomi and oversee the construction of the proposed Ram temple.
Mahant Ramchandra Das Paramhans remained the head of the Nyas till he passed away in 2003.
The Nyas also supervised the workshops in Karsevakpuram and held sway over the ‘kar sevaks’ (volunteers) who converged in Ayodhya at different points of time as part of the movement.
Mahant Nritya Gopal Das now heads the Nyas and it is widely felt that the Modi government would include a representative from the Nyas in the proposed trust.
A former BJP MP, Ram Vilas Vedanti, has already started pushing forward his name in the trust and the supporters of BJP leader Vinay Katiyar are promoting his name.
The proposed trust, sources insist, would also include a senior bureaucrat of Modi’s choice and a lawyer who would ensure that the activities are in consonance with the Supreme Court verdict.
Since the Ram temple will be built in Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh, there is also a likelihood of including a senior minister or BJP leader from the state.
And since the Prime Minister would prefer not to invite any controversy over the formation of the trust, he would probably include a retired SC judge or a scholar, apart from some other non-controversial members in the trust.
The biggest controversy that the proposed trust is likely to face is one related to the collection of funds by various organisations, trusts and religious groups for temple construction, the VHP being the biggest of them.
The main issue would be whether these fund collectors would be ready to hand over the funds to the new trust and whether they would be accountable for the millions collected during the past 27 years. There has been no proper record of the groups who have been collecting money so far and also the amount collected.
The main priest of the Ram Lalla Temple, Mahant Satyendra Das, has already claimed that Rs 18 crore was transferred to the Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas trust and nobody has an account of it.
In what will go down in history as one of its most landmark verdicts, the Supreme Court on Saturday granted the ownership of the 2.77 acres of disputed land in Ayodhya to the Hindus, paving the way for the construction of a Ram Temple, and ruled that the Muslims will get 5 acres of land at an alternative site.
A five-judge bench led by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi unanimously decided that the disputed land must be given to Hindus and ordered the Central government to form a trust for the construction of a temple, bringing to a close the longest-drawn controversy in the country’s history that has become one of the most defining aspects of its polity.