Indian officials demolish temple dedicated to Modi

Structure featuring statue of prime minister pulled down by authorities saying it was built on government land.

Indian Prime Minister Modi, wearing a dark pinstripe suit repeatedly embroidered with the words "Narendra Damodardas Modi", meets with U.S. President Barack Obama in New Delhi
Modi swept to power last year in the biggest national election victory in three decade [Reuters]

Local authorities in India’s western state of Gujarat have demolished a temple built to worship Narendra Modi, the prime minister.

Hundreds of Modi’s followers in western Rajkot city donated funds for a temple that featured a seated statue of Modi and was topped out with a wind gauge shaped like a lotus, the symbol of his nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Earlier in the day Modi had said he was appalled that some of his fans had built a temple to deify him.

Modi’s reaction had unnerved some of those involved in the temple project and one of the men who donated funds for temple building, Ramesh Undhad, had said the followers would now dedicate the temple to “Mother India”.

However, local authorities in Rajkot demolished the temple saying it was built on government’s land.

“I got to know through media only that Modi temple is being built here. After getting orders from the collector, we came here and found out that it was at government’s land. Then, the one who has encroached upon the land himself asked to do away with the temple,” Pankaj Halvai, revenue collector of Rajkot, said.

Modi, the former chief minister of Gujarat, where the temple is located, swept to power last year in the biggest national election victory in three decades, and has since led his party to a series of state poll wins.

But the BJP suffered a dramatic election defeat in the capital, New Delhi, at the hands of anti-corruption party, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).

The AAP led by former income tax officer, Arvind Kejriwal, bagged 67 seats out of 70 in Delhi state assembly, while Modi’s party could manage just three seats despite running a high-profile electoral campaign.

Source: Reuters