Temple welfare BRS' weapon against BJP

HYDERABAD: The BRS, led by party president and Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao, is preparing the party's ammunition for the upcoming Assembly elections to blunt the BJP's Hindutva politics by highlighting the amount of funds spent in the last nine years of its rule, particularly on temples and priests' welfare.

According to party insiders, the BRS leadership has shared statistics and data with all of the party's MLAs and its social media activists to demonstrate that temples got the highest allocation of funds under its rule compared to any other party that has been in power, both in the state as well as at the Centre.

According to the party's data, the BRS government has spent Rs 2,500 crore on the upkeep of temples and the wellbeing of priests. The party's MLAs were tasked with fighting back against the BJP in their respective constituencies as well as on social media by aggressively publicising this information in order to reach out to the people.

According to the data, Rs 1,200 crore was spent on renovating the Yadadri temple, which has since become a significant Hindu pilgrimage destination, drawing nearly 50,000 devotees per day, up from 10,000 previously.

The BRS's latest move follows criticism from the BJP leaders and various Hindu groups, including the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the Bajrang Dal, regarding the Chief Minister not observing the long-standing custom of presenting ‘pattu vastralu’ (silk clothing) as well as ‘muthyala talambralu’ to the celestial wedding of Lord Rama in Bhadrachalam temple on the occasion of Sri Rama Navami since 2017.

After becoming the CM in June 2014, Rao attended Lord Rama's celestial wedding at Bhadrachalam temple only twice in 2015 and 2016.

The CM and the BRS government were heavily trolled on social media platforms over his absence in Bhadrachalam again on the occasion of Sri Rama Navami on Thursday.

Against this backdrop, the party leadership alerted MLAs and social media activists to counter the BJP's and other Hindu groups' criticism against the CM and the BRS. They were asked to highlight the CM's announcement last week sanctioning Rs 1 crore to Bhadradri temple to celebrate Sri Rama Navami in a grand manner.

The state government’s data shows that it had sanctioned significant funds for the development of major temples in the state, including Vemulawada temple (Rs 60 crore), Kondagattu temple (Rs 100 crore), Basara temple (Rs 50 crore), Dharmapuri temple (Rs 50 crore), Bhirkur temple (Rs 13 crore), Komuravelli temple (Rs 11 crore), Dubbak temple (Rs 3 crore), and Siddipet Shiva temple (Rs 2 crore).

Further, the government had sanctioned Rs 390 crore towards Common Good Fund (CGF) to the temples for undertaking development works. Data also shows that the BRS government had sanctioned Rs 156 crore towards the Special Development Fund for developing temples other than major temples across the state, and Rs 1,893 crore under the Temple Works Fund for the development of facilities for pilgrims in temples.

Another Rs 200 crore was sanctioned under the ‘Dhoopa Deepa Naivedyam’ scheme for 6,541 small temples that do not have enough financial resources to conduct daily rituals to deities.

Further, the government wants to highlight that priests and employees working in temples are being paid on par with the state government employees. This scheme covers 1,198 priests and 1,453 employees.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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