iconimg Thursday, September 03, 2015

Aurangzeb Naqshbandi, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, June 28, 2013
Uttarakhand chief minister Vijay Bahuguna on Thursday attacked the BJP for what he described as its obsession with temples and turned down his Gujarat counterpart Narendra Modi’s offer to help rebuild Kedarnath temple.

“We have the capacity and capability to rebuild Kedarnath temple on our own,” Bahuguna told Hindustan Times.

Flash floods triggered by monsoon fury on June 15 and 16 ravaged the hill state, causing damage to the revered Hindu shrine as well.

Asked why he turned down the Modi’s fresh offer, he said, “I thank Mr Modi. Kedarnath is not just a religious structure …it has emotional and sentimental significance and meaning for the people of Uttarakhand.”

This is the second time that Bahuguna has snubbed the Gujarat strongman’s offer to rebuild the temple. Modi, recently appointed as the chief of the BJP campaign panel, had first offered help to Bahuguna in a meeting in last week.

“For the BJP, the temple is a political issue. But for us, it is our pride and identity,” he said. “This is high time the BJP shuns its temple politics and starts focusing on positive politics.”

Modi, criticised by the Congress and other parties for his “Rambo” rescue act, had on June 25 written to Bhaguna and enclosed a cheque for R3 crore for rehabilitation work.This was in addition to R2 crore he had sent to the Uttarakhand CM on June 19.

A section in the Uttarakhand Congress is of the view that Modi “was forced to enhance” the financial assistance as other states, including the economically weaker ones, pledged more money than Gujarat, which is considered an economic powerhouse.