Hyderabad: Images of Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao (KCR) and some flagship programmes of his government and a car are being carved on pillars for the Yadadri temple complex, a move that has drawn fire from political parties. However, G Kishan Rao, vice-chairman and chief executive officer of the Yadagirigutta Temple Development Authority, said the chief minister had never insisted or ordered that his images be put there. He said it was the prerogative of the sthapati (sculptor) of the temple to carve images of his choice.
The temple at Yadagirigutta — the abode of Sri Lakshmi Narasimha — and its surrounding areas are being renovated and developed by the state government.
It’s not clear as to where or on what portion of the temple these carved pillars would be used. But this move of the government has drawn flak from political parties and their leaders after the issue was highlighted in the local media.
Rao said the pillars which were under preparation were meant for the external part of the temple, not for the internal portion. “If you see temples in India, they depict contemporary history to convey it to future generations. Similarly, the sculptor also engraved some of the flagship programmes of the current times like KCR kits… if keeping the images is objectionable, we can modify them. We don’t mind to even remove if it is objectionable having CMs picture,” he said.
The temple at Yadagirigutta — the abode of Sri Lakshmi Narasimha — and its surrounding areas are being renovated and developed by the state government
Demanding an apology from the KCR government, BJP legislator Raja Singh, in a video message, demanded that the pictures should not be used on temples. “I ask the Chief Minister whether this is in his knowledge. If you know it, then stop it immediately. Otherwise, take action against those responsible for it. The temple is not being constructed with your party’s (TRS) funds or from your pocket money. It is public money that is being spent there. You should apologise to the people,” he said.
“If you (KCR) want to engrave figures of political parties, then ensure that all the parties get some space,” Singh added.
Chief spokesperson of the state BJP K Krishna Saagar Rao, in a statement, said, “With unprecedented greed for political legacy, KCR has desecrated Yadadri. Etching his own image, other political leaders’ images, party symbols, government schemes on Hindu temple pillars is an unforgivable act. This amounts to desecrating a Hindu temple. The Yadadri temple episode exposes KCR’s cheap antics for political gains,” he said.
Senior Congress leader Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka said there should not any political activity or depiction of leaders at religious places. “Is this democracy or monarchy? It is a place of worship which people of all political interests visit. There should not be any scope for political activity. I request you to stop all these activities,” Vikramarka said at a press conference here on Friday.
A senior official involved in the temple project said engraving rulers pictures on temples and parts of temples was not uncommon in history. He pointed out that there were pictures of Krishnadevaraya, king of the Vijayanagar empire, at the Lord Venkateswara Swamy temple at Tirumala in Andhra Pradesh.