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Unveiling Public Opinions on the Ram Mandir Inauguration

The inauguration of the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya on January 22nd was the most significant event of the year for the country. Over 7000 people including foreign dignitaries as well as bollywood celebrities, cricketers, industrialists were invited to the 'Pran Pratishtha' ceremony. Ayodhya is set to become a spiritual hub leading to potential economic boom through religious and spiritual tourism, attracting travellers from across the world and India who are eager to visit this temple.

The journey to this point, marked by controversies, began with the demolition of the Babri Masjid led by Advani, followed by the landmark Supreme Court verdict in 2019. After a 28-year hiatus, construction officially commenced in March 2020, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi performing the Bhoomi Pujan and laying the foundation stone on August 5, 2020.

Dhruv Research conducted a survey on 22-23 January to gauge the public perception regarding the event as well as the potential influence of Ram Mandir on voting sentiments of the electorate covering close to 1000 Indians PAN India.

The Ram Mandir issue has been consistently featured in the BJP's manifesto, and its construction aligns with the party's long-standing promises. The inauguration of the temple is a symbolic ideological victory for the BJP, particularly the RSS. It signifies the culmination of a decades-long struggle and reinforces the Hindutva narrative, portraying the BJP as the champion of Hindu aspirations.This was evident by 26.6% of the respondents believing that the major benefit of Ram mandir is the end of a long standing dispute.

For many, the Ram Mandir represents not only a religious sentiment but also a symbol of historical and cultural restoration. The BJP has strategically woven this issue into its political narrative, leveraging it to consolidate its core Hindu vote base and potentially attract new supporters who identify with the cause. However, in our survey it was revealed that most respondents 37.6% credited the Supreme Court verdict for the construction of the Mandir followed by only 18.2% crediting the BJP party.

Source: Online Survey of ~1000 Indians

Despite near completion of construction, controversies surrounding the Ram Mandir persist. The inauguration, considered a BJP-RSS political event, is generating discussion, especially given the ongoing construction status. Notably, the Congress has deemed it as a BJP-RSS event and declined the invitation. Four prominent Hindu Shankaracharyas declined invitations to the inauguration citing the issue that the celebration should be done only after the full construction is complete.

Congress has had a flip flop stance on Ram Mandir with Congress leaders taking credit for unlocking the gates of the Masjid in 1986 to when the demolition occurred during the leadership of congress Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao. While declining the invitation may resonate with minority voters, it risks further distancing the Congress from the Hindu electorate. The Congress has also adopted a soft hindutva narrative in the Assembly Elections so it is difficult to say whether the party would be able to consolidate votes in its favour given their oscillating strategies.

The Congress's stance may impact its coalition dynamics as well. Within the Opposition INDIA bloc, there is internal division regarding whether to participate in the consecration ceremony in Ayodhya. Some parties are apprehensive about being labelled as anti-Hindu if they abstain from attending, while others worry that their participation might inadvertently benefit the BJP which might impact the General Elections. 63% of our respondents felt that congress and the opposition party should have gone to the ceremony.

Should Congress and other opposition parties go to Ayodhya for the consecration ceremony? Percentage
No 13.20%
Not sure 23.80%
Yes 63.00%

However, 47.4% of the respondents had no impact on the perception of the party after seeing their stance on the Ram Mandir.

How has the Congress party's stance and involvement in the construction of the Ram Mandir affected your perception of the party? Percentage
More favourable towards Congress 18.62%
Less favourable towards Congress 34.01%
No change 47.36%

With the highest number of parliamentary seats among all states at 80, Uttar Pradesh (UP) is a political powerhouse, representing around a third of India's 1.3-billion population. UP reflects the sentiments of the vast northern Hindi-speaking belt and often acts as a political bellwether, influencing national trends. The state's core support for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is evident in their sweeping victories in 2014 and 2019 with increased vote share.


Total Seats: 80

GE Year Seat Share Vote share
2014 71 42.32%
2019 64 50.76%

Source : ECI

The significant infrastructure development in Ayodhya, including the revamped railway station and airport, is expected to boost economic activity. The inauguration of multiple development projects worth Rs 11,100 crore will lead to the economic upliftment of Ayodhya and its surrounding areas. The increased daily influx and footfall in Ayodhya can positively impact the local economy and may influence voters who see economic opportunities in the region.

48.6% respondents believe that the Ram Mandir will enhance Ayodhya’s economy and bolster tourism prospects. The magnitude of these investments can positively influence voters' perceptions of the government's dedication to regional progress.

Source: Online Survey of 1100+ Indians in Sep 2023

Despite the economic promises, the development projects have led to displacement for some residents due to acquisition of lands. The impact on those forced to relocate could create discontent among affected communities.

With 59.4% of the respondents stating that the temple will impact their personal voting sentiments and 38.4% net approval rate of the timing of the inauguration considering the fact that the elections are around the corner, the impact on the electorate’s voting preferences is evident.

Will it have an impact on your voting in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections?
No 40.6%
Yes 59.4%

On the flip side, the temple's construction has raised concerns about the erosion of secularism in India. This may alienate moderate and secular voters who are concerned about the blurring lines between religion and politics as well as voters from minority communities who may view this issue as divisive and polarising.

The inauguration of the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya stands as a multifaceted event with far-reaching implications for political, economic, and social landscapes that could shape voter sentiments in the upcoming General Elections. The interplay of historical narratives, economic promises, and the delicate balance between religious and political considerations will define the electoral impact of this landmark event.

Follow us for more such intriguing insights on India’s current events.

Sara Nasreen

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