People of Ayodhya corrected temple politics by defeating BJP candidate: Sharad Pawar

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Pune, Jun 11 (PTI) NCP (SP) leader Sharad Pawar on Tuesday said the people of Ayodhya have demonstrated how to correct the "politics of temple" by defeating the BJP's candidate in the Uttar Pradesh town in recent Lok Sabha elections.

Speaking at a traders' meet in Baramati, Pawar highlighted that while the BJP had secured more than 300 seats five years ago, this time their count dropped to 240, well short of majority.

"The result shows that their 60 seats got reduced, and in this reduction, Uttar Pradesh is a key state as the people there gave a different kind of verdict," he said.

Pawar said he had anticipated that Ram temple would be the election agenda and the ruling party would get votes, but the people of our country are quite wise.

"When they realised that votes were being sought in the name of the temple, they decided to take a different stand and the BJP had to face defeat," the veteran politician said.

In a major upset in the Faizabad parliamentary constituency, where the temple town of Ayodhya is situated, Samajwadi Party candidate Awadhesh Prasad defeated sitting BJP MP Lallu Singh by a margin of 54,567 votes in recent elections.

Pawar, a key member of the INDIA bloc, said the Opposition was apprehensive about the temple being used as an election agenda, but people took a different stand.

"As we were scared of the temple being used as the election agenda to seek votes, the people of Ayodhya showed how to correct the 'politics of temple' (by defeating the BJP candidate,)" the former Union minister said.

He asserted that democracy in India is intact, not because of politics but due to the "collective conscience" of the people.

"For the last 10 years, those in power have taken extreme stands, but the people have brought them back to the ground. Narendra Modi did form the government, but not on his own but by taking help of Chandrababu Naidu (TDP) and Nitish Kumar (JDU)," Pawar said.

He added that when the government is run with the help of others, one cannot ignore the 'adjustment' (samanjasya), and that kind of situation has prevailed in the country.

Pawar has been taking potshots at Modi after the Lok Sabha election results showed that the BJP fell short of securing a majority on its own and relies on NDA allies.

A day before, Pawar wondered whether Modi, who took oath as the prime minister for a third consecutive term, had the mandate to lead the country.

In a swipe at Modi who had dubbed Pawar a "bhatakti aatma" (wandering soul) during the poll campaign, the NCP (SP) chief said, "It is good since the soul is eternal and this soul will not spare you." In Maharashtra, Pawar-led NCP won 8 out of 10 Lok Sabha constituencies it had contested, recording the highest strike rate in the state. PTI SPK NSK