The Congress government in Madhya Pradesh has brought a new legislation for proper maintenance of Hindu temples and to provide facilities to devotees. It was passed without discussion in the MP Assembly last week with BJP members raising slogans in the well.
The Bill empowers the government to include “special invitees” on the management committee.
Called Madhya Pradesh Vinirdishta Mandir Vidheyak, 2019, the legislation covers the six most prominent temples in the state, including Mahakaleshwar temple at Ujjain, Sharda Devi Mandir at Maihar, Ganesh Mandir at Khajarana in Indore, Salkanpur Devi Mandir in Sehore district, Dadaji Darbar in Khandwa and Jam Sanvli Hanuman Mandir in Chhindwara.
Ahead of the Assembly elections last year, the Congress had initiated a conscious exercise, with its leaders hopping from one temple to another, to change its image after being labelled anti-Hindu and pro-minority by the then ruling BJP. The Congress had made several promises in its manifesto, including tracing the route undertaken by Lord Rama on his way to exile, a higher honorarium for Hindu priests and government gaushalas.
The new legislation will replace the separate laws governing some of these temples and will allow the government to bring any other temple under its ambit by simply issuing a notification. The new legislation has widened the ambit of the management committee to allow the government to appoint more people of its choice. The new legislation adds more government members on the management committee such as the SP and two more officers (class II and above).
Public Relations and Law Minister P C Sharma said the new law was needed for better management of the temples. “Customs and traditions will not be changed,” he said adding that the legislation was not prompted by political reasons.
BJP spokesman Rajneesh Agrawal alleged that the Congress government will appoint its own people on the management committees and will choose priests of its choice.
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