Rajasthan: The Vasundhara Raje-led BJP government in Rajasthan is on a collision course with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) over the demolition of 86 big and small temples by local administration and Metro authorities in Jaipur.
The RSS and other Hindu outfits have called a two-hour “Chakka Jam” on Thursday to register strong protest, adding to the woes of the state government, which is already plagued by the Lalit Modi controversy.
RSS leaders and Hindu organisations have compared the present BJP government with Mughal ruler Aurangzeb, who had demolished several temples. Strong protests by the RSS have, however, prodded the government into action.
“We are in constant touch with RSS leaders. The state government is confident of resolving the issue within a few days,” said Medical and Health Minister Rajendra Rathore.
On the directives of the Supreme Court over illegal religious structures, the local administration has demolished or relocated at least 86 big and small temples over the past few months in Jaipur.
Seven temples were razed in the Walled City area during construction of Phase 1B of Jaipur Metro. Many of these temples, including the Rojgareshwar Mahadev and Kashtharan Mahadev temples, are believed to be over 200 years old. Their demolition invited the wrath of local residents and RSS leadership.
After announcing “Chakka Jam” protest, the RSS also summoned over a dozen BJP legislators, Jaipur MPs and BJP office-bearers of Jaipur city, and pulled them all up for being “mute spectators”.
They were also told a detail report in this matter would be send to the RSS headquarters in Nagpur.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje called an emergency meeting of officials and legislators to discuss the issue. Raje reportedly pulled up officials asking why she was not informed about the demolition of temples.
She also directed officials not to raze any more temples without the permission of local legislator and the urban development minister. The officials, however, said the demolition and relocation drive was undertaken on directions from the apex court.
However, there is strong resentment among BJP workers over the demolition of temple. After their statements to local leaders and the state government went unheeded, they reportedly took the matter to the RSS, saying the drive was earning the government and the party a bad name.
“All nine Assembly constituencies in Jaipur city have BJP legislators. The Mayor is a BJP man, and the party is in power in the municipal council. But no one is ready to react on our complaints,” said Gautam Sharma, A BJP worker in Walled City area.