ogi Adityanath and South Korea's first lady Kim Jung-Sook will be in Ayodhya today. (File photo)
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and South Korea's first lady Kim Jung-Sook will be in Ayodhya today as the state government and the ruling BJP places the spotlight on the temple town again this Diwali. The big announcement is expected to be the details of a statue of Lord Ram the government is planning to build here.
The state government had announced the building plans for the statue last year, but there has been no concrete action on the ground. Government sources said land for the statue will be acquired by the Uttar Pradesh government but the actual statue might be partially crowd-funded. The Sardar Patel statue in Gujarat cost a whopping Rs 2500-plus crore.
There is speculation that the statue may be as tall as the one of Sardar Patel in Gujarat, recently inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
While the festivities at Ayodhya were a single-day affair last year, this time they have already been on for three days. The finale today will be attended by Yogi Adityanath and the South Korean first lady.
The biggest draw – the lighting of 3 lakh diyas by the banks of the Saryu river this evening – is an attempt at a world record that the government narrowly missed last year. Around 1.7 lakh diyas were lit last year.
The celebrations this year are also very significant because of the huge political focus on the temple issue. Ahead of next year's general elections, as the title suit is expected to come up in courts, the right-wing groups have renewed their demand for fast tracking the temple issue.
A section within the BJP and allies like Shiv Sena support the demand. There have been calls to fast forward the temple building process, bypassing the court proceedings through an executive order.