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Indira Gandhi magic!

A large number people in a Madhya Pradesh village worship the ex-PM's idol in a temple.

india Updated: Sep 10, 2005 19:15 IST
Asian News International
Asian News International

Not all politicians, long after they leave the world, manage to derive a genuine respect from their voters.

The village of Padalya in Madhya Pradesh's Khargone District is unique in that a large number of families worship the idol of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in a temple. Plans are now on to install an idol of her son and former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi too.

The village got a high school, roads and electricity through programmes launched by Indira Gandhi. Earlier, the tribals immortalised the Congress leader in 1988, when they built a shrine on five acres of land.

"This temple was constructed by my father. He did not take anything from the villagers and contributed everything from his own pocket and installed Indira Gandhi's image. I pray to her everyday.,"says Amar Lal Patel, the son of Sukhlal Patel, who was a freedom fighter.

Tribals in Padalya village treat Indira as their mother and believe she provided them a source of livelihood and made them self-sufficient.

"Indira Gandhi did a lot for the villagers. Today, there is no leader from whom the public can expect benefits. In her time, she made all arrangements to provide employment to all villagers and made them self-sufficient. But, now even graduates and MBA's are not getting employed. She is like a goddess to us. We offer her idol rice and worship it everyday," says Mahavir Singh, another resident.

Tribals are also planning to install an image of Rajiv Ganghi."Villagers are very influenced by Gandhi family. They are very much influenced by Sonia Gandhi as well as the ruling Congress Party. If possible, they will install more idols of Congress leaders. Today, villagers are planning to install an idol of Rajiv Gandhi either in the same temple or they will construct a temple next to this temple in which the statue of Rajiv Gandhi will be installed, says Ram Singh Thakur, another villager.

First Published: Sep 10, 2005 19:15 IST