New Delhi, Nov 14: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath is all set to kick off the campaign for upcoming urban local body polls from the holy city of Ayodhya. The civic polls, to be held in three phases from November 22, are seen as a litmus test for CM Yogi.

On being asked about why he chose the temple town to begin his campaign for local body polls, Yogi underscored the importance of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya and asserted,”Ram ke bagair bhaarat mein koi kaam nahi ho sakta, Ram hamari aastha ke prateek hain, Bharat ki puri aastha ke kendra bindu hain (No work can be done in India without Ram, he is a symbol of our faith).”

The issue of Lord Rama grabbed headlines again yesterday when Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar said he would travel to Ayodhya and open talks with stakeholders in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute on November 16.

Adityanath had visited the disputed Ram Janmabhoomi site after the mega pre-Diwali celebrations organised by his government in Ayodhya last month leading to criticism from rivals who accused him of playing the communal card.

During his visit, Adityanath had said that Ayodhya represented his personal beliefs and opposition parties had no right to question him on this matter. Facing criticism on his visit, the UP chief minister had said, “By celebrating grand Diwali in Ayodhya, I have not started a new practice but it is an age-old tradition here to celebrate the homecoming of Lord Rama.”

UP CIVIC POLLS: 

The UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath will address a rally each in all the 16 poll-bound municipal corporations. “The chief minister will start his campaign from Ayodhya on November 14. On the same day, he is likely to visit districts of Gonda and Bahraich,” a senior UP BJP leader had informed news agency PTI.

As many as 652 urban local bodies across the state are going to polls, the highest number so far.