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Pradeep Saxena, Hindustan Times
Aligarh, November 25, 2012
In a move that could spark debate in political echelons, state secretary of Samajwadi Party Rajesh Saini along with his supporters has decided to set up a temple of party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav in Aligarh. The foundation laying ceremony (shilanayas) of the temple was done amidst mantras at Nagla Mali, near Dhanipur of Aligarh on November 22, the 74th birthday of Yadav.

If things materialise, it would be the first temple of a political leader in north India. Speaking to Hindustan Times, Saini said: “The 10ft by 11 ft temple will have a 5ft statue of the SP chief. It will cost nearly Rs. 10 lakh. Its construction will be completed within a year.”

Saini said, “The decision to construct the temple is a personal one and was taken after considering the work done by the SP chief for backward and dalit class.” The land for the temple has been donated by Prahalad Saini, Chandra Pal Saini, Ram Prasad Saini, Om Prakash Saini and Bunty Saini.

However, the move hasn’t gone down well with a section of local SP leaders who claim that the idea is against the socialist ideology.

District president of SP, Rakshpal Singh said that installing statue of alive SP leaders or the temple is totally anti-socialist and against Lohia’s philosophy.

Singh told Hindustan Times, “If the party headquarters will ask for the report, we will send it.”

N Jamal Ansari, social thinker and web editor of Aligarh Movement Magazine opined, “In Hindu mythology, great souls are worshipped due to their humanism. The trend of installing statues of living leaders and dedicating temples is anti-democratic.”