Updated: August 20, 2021 11:33:24 am
A BJP worker, who had set up a temple with the bust of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Aundh, has removed the sculpture after he was pulled up by the BJP leadership in Delhi.
Mayur Munde had set up a small temple alongside a road in Aundh area a few days ago and installed a bust of Modi in it. “I am a follower of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and I worship him… and take his blessings. The temple would also enable other followers to seek his blessings,” Munde had said.
His action, however, attracted sharp criticism, not only from opposition parties but even local BJP leaders. After the bust was removed, both NCP and Shiv Sena used this opportunity to take potshots at the BJP and said they were “disappointed”.
“We came to the temple and wanted to offer petrol, LPG, and food items to the idol as their prices are at an all-time high. We had decided to pray in the temple to bring down the prices of necessary items, provide employment to youth and solve civic problems of the city, but we were disappointed as the bust of the Prime Minister has been removed,” said city NCP chief Prashant Jagtap.
Leaders of the city unit of Shiv Sena also said they wanted to offer prayers at the temple but the bust of the Prime Minister was removed before that. “Inflation is at an all-time high and it is difficult for the poor to survive in the current situation. We wanted to pray… to help the poor,” said a Sena leader.
While Munde initially remained unavailable for comments, he addressed the media late on Thursday. “I am here to clear my stand but my lawyer Madhukar Musale will speak on my behalf,” he said.
Musale said Munde had set up the temple and it was recently inaugurated by local residents. “News about the temple spread across the country due to the respect and love for the Prime Minister. It also reached BJP’s national leaders… they called me up and asked me to remove the statue,” he said.
“A national leader communicated… that the construction of the temple of the Prime Minister was not in accordance with the principles and values of the BJP. The leader said, ‘we can understand the respect and love of party workers towards the Prime Minister but this way of expressing it was incorrect. The bust of the PM should be removed’,” said Musale.
The bust has now been kept in the local BJP office, the lawyer said, adding, “We will not worship the bust but it will inspire party workers visiting the office.”
Musale, however, emphasised that the bust was not removed because of criticism from opposition parties, but “in response to the directions of a national leader”.
“The national leader from Delhi communicated to me and I passed on the message to Munde,” Musale said without revealing the name of the leader.
Earlier in the day, Siddharth Shirole, BJP MLA from Shivajinagar constituency, which includes Aundh, had commented on the controversy. “It is true that a BJP worker had set up a temple in Aundh where the bust of Prime Minister Narendra Modi was kept for worship. He might have done so due to his feelings towards the Prime Minister but the party had no information about it. The initiative came under sharp criticism from every quarter… the BJP does not accept such behaviour. It seems he has removed the bust due to the the criticism,” he said.
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