Arguing that the BJP only paid lip service to the cause of religion when it ruled Madhya Pradesh for 15 years, the Congress government on Saturday announced an ambitious Rs 300-crore plan to develop and expand the famous Mahakal temple in Ujjain.
The Kamal Nath-led Congress government constituted a three-member ministerial committee to finalise the plan to expand the temple and improve facilities. Chief Minister Nath, who chaired a meeting at the secretariat to maximise facilities for devotees, asked the committee to hold its first meeting in the next three days.
The CM asked the committee to put up a proposal to amend the legislation that governs the temple before the Cabinet by the end of this month, and finalise the plan to develop the temple by the end of September. He said the original structure should remain untouched during expansion and improvement of facilities, and that the chief secretary will monitor the progress of the work to improve existing facilities for devotees.
Improvement in entry and exit at the temple, extension of Nandi hall, Mahakal theme park, Mahakal corridor, construction of Maharaj Bada complex, Kumbh Museum, display of stories associated with Mahakal, landscaping of Rudrasagar, beautification of Ramghat Marg and development of facilities for the pilgrims were among the development and expansion topics presented before the Chief Minister on Saturday.
The ministerial committee will include PWD Minister Sajjan Verma, Law and Spiritual department Minister P C Sharma and Urban Development Minister Jaivardhan Singh.
“The BJP government did not take any steps to develop Ram Van Gaman Path or improve facilities at Mahakal temple. They used to call themselves gaubhakts but did not build even one gaushala,” said the CM’s media coordinator Narender Saluja. He said Saturday’s meeting was the first ever to be chaired by a chief minister for improving facilities at the temple.
BJP spokesman Rahul Kothari said the Congress should stop mixing politics with religion. Referring to the Congress debacle in the Lok Sabha elections, Kothari said Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra have suffered the consequences of visiting temples only ahead of elections.