A couple of months ago, the state government announced development of 'Ram Van Gaman Path' in the state. The idea was to track and develop the path Lord Ram is believed to have taken during the mythological forest trek along with Seeta and Lakshman from Chitrakoot to Dandakaranya, passing through parts of modern Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.
With the civic elections around the corner, the government now plans to revive the tradition of 'Ramlila', the re-enactment of Ramayana. The usual time for the action is during the nine nights before the Vijaya Dashami. Political expediency, however, has prompted the Kamal Nath government to cast the soft Hindutva net during the civic polls.
State Urban Administration and Development Minister Jaivardhan Singh recently announced that Ramlila stages would be built at all the 378 municipalities. Ramlila is part of tradition and old identity, he said.
"It's our collective responsibility to preserve this tradition and keep it alive," the minister added.
Jaivardhan said the Congress-led government has already taken up building of 1,000 cowsheds and set aside Rs 132 crore for the purpose. Corporates have offered to build modern cowsheds under the CSR initiatives.
The Kamal Nath government is not only going to stage Ramlila in all the urban bodies, but will also build permanent structures to hold the shows in the future.
Jaivardhan was already in campaign mode when he made the announcement under the 'Aapki Sarkar Aapke Dwar' programme.
The 'Ram Van Gaman Path' was earlier meant to cover the route from Chitrakoot to Amarkantak, the places associated with Ram's exile. The revised plans would cover Ramraja temple in Orchha and make platforms for Ramlila to connect people with Ram's darshan.
The BJP, however, remains sceptical of the government's intentions in the state.
"The party which withdrew budget for 'bhajan keertan mandals' soon after coming to power seems to be remembering Lord Ram under political compulsions," said BJP spokesperson Rajnish Agrawal.