Up next, a temple dedicated to Vasundhara
First she was ‘Annapurna Maa’. Now Vasundhara Raje will be ‘Maa Kalyani’.
The first time it was only a poster. This time, if ardent sycophant Pandit Hemant Bohra has his way, there will be a temple built with an idol of the Rajasthan chief minister inside.
On Friday, Bohra announced his intention to build a temple at Keru village in Jodhpur district for Raje’s worshippers. A four-and-half-foot marble idol, depicting the CM seated Durga-like on a lion, will be installed.
The foundation stone for the temple will be laid on July 16. “It has been designed by a prominent Madurai based architect,” Bohra told HT. “I will be inviting the chief minister and a few other BJP leaders to the ceremony.”
Bohra’s poster of Raje raised a storm in April last year. It showed her as Annapurna Maa, with a halo round her head and flanked by two lions, showering blessings on the populace. Though Raje took centrestage, BJP leaders A.B. Vajpayee, L.K. Advani and Rajnath Singh were also included in the poster, depicted as Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva respectively, the holy trinity of the Hindu pantheon. For good measure, two senior state BJP ministers were shown as the Hindu gods Indra and Kuber.
The poster’s release brought the factional feud within the Rajasthan BJP to the fore when Sheetal Kanwar, wife of a top leader and former minister Jaswant Singh, lodged a police complaint, claiming the poster had hurt her religious sentiments and that of many Hindus. A Jodhpur magistrate ordered the police to formally register a case against Bohra and the local BJP MLA who released the poster, Surya Kant Vyas.
Jaswant Singh brushed off the entire matter, claiming his wife was a free citizen who took her own decisions.
Why does Bohra keep doing it? “I have immense faith in the chief minister,” he replied.
But Bohra is not alone in his adoration of Raje. Forest minister Partap Singh Singhvi had even earlier in 2006 claimed that he performed a puja every day before a framed photograph of Raje, since he regarded her as the embodiment of Goddess Durga.