No “Namo” in temple made in honour of Modi now: idea scrapped as he was ‘appalled’
Fans and supporters of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi who planned for opening a temple in his honour later scrapped the plan as the Prime Minister was appalled by the idea. The Hindu temple, with an idol of Mr Modi, was to open in Kotharia village in his home state of Gujarat.
Modi supporters had invested thousands of dollars in the temple in his home state of Gujarat, which houses a large statue of the charismatic — and was due to open on Sunday.
But they decided to rededicate the temple to “Mother India” after the prime minister strongly criticised the plan, saying it went against the country’s traditions.
“We had built the temple to express our love and faith in Modiji,” project organiser Ramesh Udhad said.
“But if he is unhappy or hurt by our gesture, we will remove his statue.”
Udhad said Sunday’s opening ceremony had been cancelled and the statue of Modi, who appears dressed in his trademark collarless jacket and a saffron sash, covered with a tarpaulin.
Building such temples is not what our culture teaches us,” Modi tweeted earlier Thursday.
“I was appalled. This is shocking and against India’s great traditions,” he said, urging supporters instead to focus their energies on his flagship campaign to clean up India.
News of the dedication came at an embarrassing time for Modi, whose Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) this week suffered a drubbing in Delhi state polls.
Modi has also suffered opposition charges of arrogance — notably last month when he wore a suit with his own name woven into the pinstripe to meet the visiting US President Barack Obama.
The temple was constructed over years with donations from some 350 Modi devotees from Kotharia village in Gujarat at a cost of around 500,000 rupees (GBP 5000 approx.).
A long time chief minister of Gujarat, Modi stormed to power nationally last May, riding a “Modi-wave” of popularity that saw thousands pack rallies to hear the powerful and charismatic orator.
Temples dedicated to living people are unusual in Indian culture, but not unprecedented — last year, supporters opened a temple to opposition leader Sonia Gandhi in the south of the country.
Temples have been built in the memory of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and popular film star-turned-politician NT Rama Rao.
This is the second temple to Mr Modi – a priest in Kaushambi district in northern India had placed a statue of Mr Modi alongside a statue of Hindu god Shiva to pray for his victory in last year’s general election and according to reports, the temple is now called the NaMo temple.
Reports say the temple is still in operation.
– Sharanya Bharathwaj