Diary of a journo from Somanth to Ayodhya
LAW  KUMAR MISHRA
Movement for Ram temple which began from the Palampur session of BJP in 1989 is culminating into the groundbreaking ceremony at Aypdhya on Wednesday.Ground work was done by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad a year before L K Advani started his Rath Yatra from Somnath to Ayodhya on September 25,1990.VHP workers had literally generated a Ram influenced mindset among the villagers  in Saurashtra too as “Shila Pujan” took place in each and every household .Bricks were purified for the Ram temple in the villages with Re one contributions,thanks to the massive Mass movement of VHP.This generated  a mass hysteria among the people in Gujarat to.
I had covered the the launch of the Yatra(in a matador converted into chariot) from Somnath as Times of India correspondent.After performing early puja rituals at the Somnath temple on the Sea shore,L K Advani and his wife Ms Kamla Advani rode the chariot.Pramod Mahajan was the Saarthi for the entire route,while Narendra Modi was upto Gujarat state and Keshubhai Patel for Saurashtra leg.(200 kms).Kiritbhai Pathak,a former official of Saurashtra Universiy still recalls “entire Rajkot had become Rammay”.
The chariot passed through the NH 151,NH 27 and SH 26 covering verawal, Jamandorana, Junagadh, Jetpur,Gondal, before it reached Rajkot,the first day’s of rest flor Advani.He stayed in Circuit House, where documents of surrender of Junagadh state with India was signed between Menon and Bhutto’s father,who was Dewan of Junagadh.Reporters coming from New Delhi and Miumbai were accommodated in Hotel galaxy and Hotel Samrat,Next morning,Advani gave formal interviews to some of the visiting reporters before leaving for the next leg-Rajkot-Ahmedabad phase which passed through Kuvadva,,Chotila,Limbdi,Surendranagar covering another 210 kms.,
Welcome arches full of local colourful Rabri embroidery Torans  were put all over the route, people, particularly women were literally frenzy,offering Aartis,putting flower petals and even coins on the Chariot.Entire route was river berating with Jai Ram slogans and it was for the first time slogan of Mandir Wahin Banayange  was popularised and Advani at his road side speeches talked of  Mathura and Kashi on the agenda of the movement after Ayodhya.
The yatra which started at 10.30 am in Somnath temple on September 25,1990 reaches its logical ends at Ayodhya where on August 5,2020 at 12.30 Bhumipujan will be done.A great and vast distance between Shila Puja and Bhumipujan. For me,I was called to appear as a prosecution witness at Lucknow’s special CBI court last year.

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