When a Supreme Court judgment in 2019 paved the way for the construction of a grand temple at Lord Ram’s birthplace, it was mostly perceived as good news for crores of devotees who had been patiently waiting for the big day. But the construction of the Ram Mandir is not just about religion and spirituality. It has also got to do a lot with local economics. And with the local economy improving, the Ram Mandir development is also bound to leave a strong impression on the 2022 UP Legislative Assembly polls. Especially for the Awadh region, Ram Mandir construction is a huge development.
PM Modi and CM Yogi developing Ayodhya into a global spiritual centre
With Ram Mandir construction in full flow, the local economy of the region around Ayodhya is witnessing unprecedented growth.
PM Modi has been very clear about developing Ayodhya into a spiritual centre, global tourism hub and sustainable smart city.
The Yogi government has already started working towards making Ayodhya a global spiritual attraction. The Ayodhya International airport project too has been fast-tracked by the Yogi government after the Ram Manohar Lohia Awadh University approved a proposal to hand over its 3900-hectare land for the big project.
Tourism going up in Ayodhya already
Tourist footfall to Lord Ram’s city of birth has already shot up with many devotees visiting the city on significant days like Ram Navami. Tourism is increasing even though Ram Mandir construction is not yet complete and the Pandemic too had restricted travel.
Meanwhile, Ayodhya’s hotel industry is also booming. Till now, Ayodhya’s hospitality sector consisted mainly of Dharamshala and very few visitors used to stay overnight. But with the Ram Mandir coming up, some guesthouses have started to spring up across the district.
Big hotel chains too want to invest in Ayodhya. Europe’s largest multinational hospitality chain Accor and Radisson Hotel Group were reported to be in ‘initial dialogues’ to evaluate hotel proposals in Ayodhya.
Real estate boom in Ayodhya
Property prices have shot up in a 10-km radius of the Ram temple. The Print reported last year that prices had seen a hike of nearly four to six times since the Supreme Court judgment, as per property dealers and residents.
This real estate boom will only get bigger with more budget hotels, five stars and guest houses investing in Ayodhya. Once the construction of Ram Mandir is complete, tourist footfall and real estate prices will witness an even bigger surge.
Ayodhya sets up Awadh for a BJP clean sweep
The fact remains that Ram Mandir in Ayodhya is no longer just about Hindus and Lord Ram devotees. The development of Ayodhya and the construction of the Ram Mandir has something to offer for every individual irrespective of his religion or caste.
When there is a boom in the local economy, every segment of the society stands to benefit. While BJP has been painted as an anti-Muslim party, its efforts in making Ayodhya a globally acclaimed city is bound to benefit the local Muslim population too, with the enhanced value of their businesses and properties.
What makes the ongoing development in Ayodhya crucial is the fact that the city is a part of the politically significant Awadh region in Uttar Pradesh. This region consists of politically important districts like Lucknow, Sultanpur, Amethi, Raebareli and Prayagraj.
The region doesn’t favour any one political party. It is a microcosm of the state of Uttar Pradesh- different caste and religious profiles of different districts exhibit a differential voting pattern that makes domination by any one party difficult.
Now, the BJP must ensure that it wins big in Awadh again if it wants to repeat its brilliant performance in the 2017 UP Assembly polls. And in the run-up to the crucial elections, BJP will be banking heavily on the quick pace of development in Ayodhya that can transform the entire region.