Polls have come and gone, but for the temple town of Ayodhya, this is surely an election amid a new beginning. With the longstanding saga of the Ram Mandir-Babri Masjid dispute being over following a historic judgement from the Supreme Court in 2019, it is for the first time that the city goes to vote without a shadow of the decades-old controversy that has most profoundly shaped and defined India’s contemporary politics and played the most crucial role in the Bharatiya Janata Party’s meteoric rise.
The constituency of Ayodhya votes on February 27, along with 60 other seats spread across 11 districts in the fifth round of the ongoing seven-phase Uttar Pradesh elections. In 2017, the BJP had won 48 of these constituencies. However, in the 2012 assembly polls, 42 of them were bagged by the Samajwadi Party.
Since 2017, with Yogi Adityanath as the chief minister, ‘Ayodhya’ has also seen geographical expansion, with the district formerly known as Faizabad being given that name. The other districts that go to polls are Amethi, Raebareli, Sultanpur, Pratapgarh, Kaushambi, Prayagraj, Barabanki, Bahraich, Shravasti, Gonda and Chitrakoot in Bundelkhand.