Temple to Goddess Sonia, as Saviour of Telangana - The New Indian Express

Temple to Goddess Sonia, as Saviour of Telangana

Published: 15th Dec 2013 07:45:07 AM

AICC supremo Sonia Gandhi will soon join the revered ranks of M G Ramachandran, Amitabh Bachchan and Khushboo with a temple being dedicated to her.

Taking a cue from the ardent fans of these famous personalities, former minister and Secunderabad Cantonment MLA from Andhra Pradesh, P Shankar Rao, has begun constructing a temple to his party boss Sonia Gandhi for deciding to accord statehood to Telangana.

He laid the foundation stone for the temple to Sonia at Nandigam village in Kothur mandal of Mahbubnagar district in the Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh on December 9, the birthday of his party boss.

During the occasion, Hindu priest Sunder Rajan Sthapathi performed Bhoomi Puja with members of Shankar Rao’s family along with his supporters present. Rao is planning to build the temple on a 9-acre plot and name it Sonia Gandhi Shanti Vanam. He wants to develop the entire plot, which is near the Bangalore-Hyderabad highway, into a tourist spot.

“We are installing a 12-foot bronze statue of Madam Sonia in the temple for delivering the T-state,” Rao said.

The maverick politico, who has made it a point to throw brickbats at Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy ever since he was dropped from the state Cabinet, has justified his act saying Sonia had played a key role in the formation of T-State.

“The Seemandhra leaders had insulted Sonia Gandhi for announcing separate Telangana state. But in Telangana region, Sonia is in the hearts of the people as a Goddess for fulfilling the long-cherished dream of separate Telangana state,” he maintained.

According to him, Sonia had also exercised utmost restraint even though Seemandhra people burnt her effigy, destroyed posters of her and even constructed a tomb for her. “Such patience is found only in the Almighty. That is why I have decided to construct a temple to Madam Soniaji,” Rao said. Rao added he wants to build the temple so that people can offer prayers to Sonia Gandhi every day for ending the dominance of Seemandhra leadership over Telangana.

However, local BJP leaders are opposed to a temple for Sonia and have warned Rao that they would dismantle the structure if it is built. “Many youngsters laid down their lives due to the delay in Telangana announcement,” they said.

But, Shankar Rao is keen on constructing the temple within six months. “Despite all the opposition from BJP, I have decided to construct the temple to express my gratitude as Madam Sonia is the Goddess for Telangana people,” he insisted.

So far no temple has been built to any political leader in Andhra Pradesh barring a make-shift temple, constructed in Karimnagar recently, to Sonia. This temple was built by the Karimnagar district Congress leaders to neutralise the act of Seemandhra leaders, who had constructed a tomb in Tirupati for the AICC president for announcing T-State. Soon after building the temple, the T-Congress leaders offered special prayers and broke coconuts, offered arathi to the portrait of Sonia and also lit agarbattis.

Though it is a first instance of building a temple to Sonia, in fact, the phenomenon of constructing temples by fanatical fans to their beloved leaders and film stars is not new in the country. So far, temples have come up to honour leaders and actors, whom people not only love but worship like divinities.

Legendary Tamil actor and former chief minister M G Ramachandran, known as Puratchi Thalaivar, has been honoured with a temple at Nathamedu near Chennai.

A temple was built in South Kolkata to Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan. In that temple, priests offer daily prayers with a tailor-made Amitabh Chalisa.

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