The much-hyped visit of former Uttar Pradesh chief minister and ousted Bhartiya Janata Party leader Kalyan Singh to this ancient Hindu temple town on Thursday remained a non-event.
The one-time BJP stalwart, who for some years spearheaded the Ayodhya movement and was at the helm of UP affairs, when the 16th century Babri mosque was pulled down by Hindu 'karsewaks' on December 6, 1992, failed to mobilise support of more than 40-50 people .
Sure enough, this was in stark contrast to his heydays, when one call could collect thousands in Ayodhya. Eventually, his audience remained limited to mediapersons, whom he addressed at the end of the show.
He made it a point to put up a more aggressive posture vis-a-vis the court verdict in the Ayodhya title suit on September 24.
"We will not sit quietly in case the judgement goes against the Hindus claim to the disputed site," he declared before mediapersons, adding, "but political parties must stay away from this issue."
He said, "There were three objectives behind my visit to Ayodhya -- to have 'darshan' of Ram Lalla, and to chalk out a post-judgement strategy."
He sought to add some melodrama to his lacklustre visit by claiming that he had heard God's voice when he went to offer prayers at the makeshift Ram temple that stands on the debris of the Babri mosque since 1992.
"While so far, I had never sought anything from Ram Lalla, today I asked him how long would he continue to remain under a makeshift tarpaulin roof," he said, "and you know Ram Lalla told me in my ear that the day was not far when the Lord would be under the grand ceiling of a magnificent temple."
Earlier, Kalyan's supporters were not allowed inside the precincts of the heavily-guarded makeshift temple. He stepped into the narrow steel-barricaded long winding passage alone but minutes later his politician son Rajvir Singh was permitted to join him along with five supporters.
In an obvious bid to make Kalyan's presence felt, his remaining supporters shouted slogan hanging around the outer security gates resorted to raising slogans in support of a temple at the site.
Local response to the one-time popular saffron leader's visit to this temple town was as tepid as during his visit after the formation of his new political outfit, Jan Kranti Party, three months ago.