Ram Rajya means progress, abolition of poverty and no discrimination, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said today as he asked critics not to see any political designs behind his government's efforts to develop this temple town.
The state government wants to realise the dream of a 'Ram Rajya' through development, he asserted.
In a speech that began amid shouts of 'Jai Shri Ram' and 'Bharat Mata ki jai' at his government's mega 'Deepotsav' event, Adityanath hit out at critics saying there were some who opposed all his actions no matter what he did.
A total of 1.71 lakh earthen lamps glittered on the bank of river Sarayu while a blue chopper decorated as the mythological 'Pushpak Viman' descended on the Ram Katha Park with artistes decked up to resemble Lord Ram, Sita and Laxman at the event.
Another chopper rained flowers from the sky.
"Ayodhya gave the concept of Ram Rajya - where there is no poverty, pain, grief or discrimination," Adityanath said adding that the real meaning of the concept was a home for everyone; electricity and LPG cylinders for all households. For a person who does not have an electricity connection even after 70 years of independence, lighting of a bulb at his home is Ram Rajya, Adityanath said.
There are some who are used to opposing everything we do, he said referring to critics.
"If I come to Ayodhya, they raise questions and if I don't, they say I am afraid of coming here. Now they are saying that the Ayodhya programme is to divert attention of the people. I am here with my work, including loan waivers, wheat purchase etc, done in the past six months," he said.
Attacking political rivals, the UP chief minister said his government did not distinguish on the basis of caste or religion unlike what happened earlier.
"We don't discriminate on the basis of caste, creed and religion. In the previous 'Ravan Raj', there was discrimination on the basis of family, caste and other factors... The state government wants to realise the dream of a 'Ram Rajya' through development," he alleged.
The chief minister said he found it beneath dignity to even to react to "insulting and dirty" allegations levelled by the opposition.
Adityanath said that Ayodhya had given much to humanity.
"It gave the concept of Ram Rajya, where there is no poverty or grief. Where there is no discrimination. The objective of the programme is to present the real picture to the world," he said referring to the 'Deepotsav' event.
He equated the Narendra Modi government's work for the masses with Ram Rajya.
Adityanath, a priest-turned-politician, wondered as to why there were negative discussions on Ayodhya.
"We are making an attempt to take it from negativity to positivity. I am happy all Ayodhya residents cooperated in this endeavour. Ayodhya remained neglected, faced attacks continuously, but it will not remain so. We have launched Rs 133 crore worth schemes here," he said.
The chief minister said he wanted to restore the ancient glory of Ayodhya.
Referring to the 1.71 lakh earthen lamps lit on the bank of river Sarayu, Adityanath said the figure matched the population under the Ayodhya Nagar Nigam. Officials said 1.71 lakh earthen lamps at a single event could enter the Guinness Book of World Records.
Among other major attractions at the grand event was a 22-minute laser show, with special sound effects, on Ramayana.
Adityanath said this was first of the four phases planned for Ayodhya and similar development would be carried out in other places as well.
"There will be beautification of Ayodhya and its ghats. This effort will continue in other historic places. Be it Kashi, Mathura, Namisharayna (Sitapur), Mirzapur, Tulsipur (Balrampur), Saharanpur, we will develop historical places. The state should become a world tourism hub and it is a beginning from Ayodhya," he said.
Adityanath said that a 'Ramayan mela' will be associated with this programme next year onwards.
In his speech, UP Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya said that "those opposed to Lord Ram cannot stop us from developing Ayodhya" UP Governor Ram Naik lauded the efforts of the Adityanath government in developing Ayodhya and thanked him for this assurance that all the work would be completed in two years, before his (Naik's) tenure ends.
Prominent among those present included seers, Union Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma, Union Tourism Minister KJ Alphons and BJP state chief Mahendra Nath Pandey.
After the main event, the stage was set for a grand laser show and 'aarti' (worship) of river Sarayu.
Meanwhile, the Babri Masjid Action Committee (BMAC) raised objections to the fanfare with which the Adityanath government celebrated the event claiming that public money was "wasted" on the show.
"It is a matter of grave concern that public funds were wasted on the event," the body's convener Zafaryab Jilani said after a meeting of the committee here.
"The Adityanath government seems to be working for a particular community, though the Constitution does not allow any government to have relations with any particular community," Jilani said in a statement.
The BJP government in Uttar Pradesh plans to erect a huge statue of Lord Ram in Ayodhya at the State's expense. This is against the tenets of the Constitution, he claimed.
Highlights of Yogi Adityanath's speech in Ayodhya:
06:00 pm: The real meaning of Ram Rajya is a home for all; electricity and LPG gas cylinders for every household: Yogi
05:55 pm: People before us discriminated in the name of caste and religion, that was Raavan Rajya: UP CM Yogi Adityanath
05:54 pm: We are not discriminating in the name of caste, creed or religion, this is Ram Rajya: UP CM
05:53 pm: If infrastructure permits, we are ready to give 24-hour electricity to Ayodhya: Adityanath
05:50 pm: There are people who see negativity in everything. They are accusing us that this programme is to divert attention: Yogi Adityanath
05:49 pm: The highways in Thailand are named fter Lord Ram: Yogi Adityanath
05:48 pm: Ram Leela is not celebrated only in India but all over the world: Yogi Adityanath
05:47 pm: Ayodhya will now become a 'Nagar Nigam': Yogi Adityanath
05:46 pm: Ayodhya is the land of humanity, it has taught the world humanity through the concept of Ram Rajya: UP CM Yogi Adityanath
(With PTI inputs)