A DAY after the Himachal Pradesh Cabinet cleared a proposal handing over the control of the historic Lord Raghunathji temple in Kullu to the state government, Kullu MLA Maheshwar Singh, who is the chief kardar of the temple, threatened he will contest the government move legally and otherwise.
Singh, who reached Kullu this morning from Shimla, said: “How can government take over a temple that is part of my property that I have inherited from my ancestors? The government has no locus standi, and I will fight it out.” Singh is also the “scion” of the Raja of Kullu.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday, the state government’s department of Language, Art and Culture (LAC) issued a formal notification under the HP Hindu Public Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowment Act 1984, proposing to take control of the temple.
A senior official confirmed that the notification has been issued and that the Deputy Commissioner of Kullu has been informed about this for necessary follow-up action.
During the day, Maheshwar Singh is learnt to have held consultations with his lawyers and collected documents in support of his claim about the temple being the property of the royal family.
“Even when the government has to take over a small private hutment, its owners are issued a notice and given the opportunity to present their case. Remember it’s a 17th century temple, which is our private property, and the government just can’t its charge overnight. Once I get access to the notification and minutes of the cabinet, I will spell out my course of action,” Maheshwar said.
A former BJP leader, who had earlier represented Mandi Parliamentary three times, once even defeating Pratibha Singh (CM’s wife), Maheshwar Singh had quit the BJP in 2012 ahead of the Assembly polls and formed Himachal Lokhit Party. He is the lone HLP MLA in the House .
Initially, he had been backing Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and Congress in the Vidhan Sabha but his growing closeness with the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) and speculation about his return to the parent party seems to have triggered trouble for him.
In Kullu, local Sanatan Dharam Sabha held a meeting and submitted a memorandum to Deputy Commissioner Hans Raj Chauhan, threatening mass protest if any attempt was made to enter the temple complex and property.