Indian President Ram Nath Kovind to pray at Ram Lalla temple today

Indian President Ram Nath Kovind will pray at Ram Lalla temple today as a part of his four-day visit to

Modi PTI

Photo: PTI

Indian President Ram Nath Kovind will pray at Ram Lalla temple today as a part of his four-day visit to Uttar Pradesh (UP).

Kovind will be the first Indian President to pray at the temple and is expected to perform pooja, a worship ritual, at the site. The visit will take place on the eve of the Janmashtami celebration, an annual Hindu festival.

UP is India’s most populous state and its residents typically view religion as a major part of their lives. UP’s assembly election is expected to be held in March 2022. The ruling right-of-center Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has faced a slew of criticisms in the state due to farmers’ protests and the government’s inadequate pandemic response, and Kovind, a member of the BJP, will be eager to shore up support for the party by invoking religion.

Expect Kovind’s visit to be well received and ultimately helpful in repairing the BJP’s image in UP before the elections in March. More broadly, Kovind’s visit will serve as an important indication of the significant role of Hinduism in the BJP’s continued adherence to the Hindutva ideology (Hindu nationalism) which it hopes will ensure sweeping electoral success nationally.

Wake up smarter with an assessment of the stories that will make headlines in the next 24 hours. Download The Daily Brief.