Several BJP leaders have made visiting the Bhagyalakshmi temple a must-visit during their trip to Hyderabad.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP state president Bandi Sanjay
news Politics Saturday, November 28, 2020 - 19:20

Union Home Minister Amit Shah who will arrive in Hyderabad to campaign for the BJP ahead of the upcoming Greater Hyderabad Municipal Elections (GHMC) will arrive at the Begumpet airport and then he will head straight to Bhagyalakshmi temple located in the old city. The road shows and campaigning has been scheduled only after the visit to this small temple located adjoining the iconic Charminar- a monument and mosque.

Around a week ago, when the State Election Commission directed the State government to stop distribution of flood-relief of Rs 10,000 to all those affected in the floods, a controversy broke out. Rumours soon spread that it was the BJP that had demanded the State Election Commission to intervene and stop the distribution. A letter, allegedly written by the Telangana BJP Chief Bandi Sanjay was soon shared widely on social media. Sanjay denied all allegations and declared that he would visit the Bhagyalakshmi temple in the Old City to take an oath of truth, hoping to silence those alleging the BJP has urged the SEC to intervene.

On the last Friday, the BJP Chief visited the temple that is located adjoining the iconic Charminar and hundreds of followers joined the leader as a result of which mild tension prevailed in Charminar.

Two days ago, on Thursday, Prime Minister Modi’s brother Prahlad Modi also visited the Bhagyalakshmi Temple in the old city. Last year, when RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat was in the city, he too had visited the temple before addressing a meeting at the Mauzzam Jahi market.

So why has this temple become so important for the BJP?

The Bhagyalakshmi temple too has been in the centre of a land dispute like the Ayodhya Ram temple. It was alleged that the temple was built and later encroached into Charminar property. The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has also maintained for decades that the temple should be removed from the location. The ASI has even said on record that the Charminar did not make it to the  UNESCO’s World Heritage Site nomination list due to structures like this temple adjacent to Charminar. 

"The temple’s Garbha Griha uses the Charminar wall as a common back wall and its back side walls are cutting into the structure on the south-eastern minar and there is no space at all left between the two structures and this is causing various conservation issues," the ASI said, TNIE reported. Though there are many who believe the temple was constructed only a few decades ago, Hindu groups argue that the structure is as old as the Charminar itself.

The Hindu newspaper in 2012 published two pictures showing the Charminar with and without the temple next to it and inferred that the temple could not have been more than 60 years old.

Senior journalist and author Kingshuk Nag feels that this is a political move to convey that the Bhagyalakshmi temple precedes the Charminar. He said, “Though it has been proved that the temple came in much later, they want to speak about the Hindu origin of the place. If voted to power, BJP will not only make the temple a pilgrimage. However, the population of the old Union Home Minister Amit Shah who will arrive in Hyderabad to campaign for the BJP ahead of the upcoming Greater Hyderabad Municipal Elections (GHMC) will arrive at the Begumpet airport and then he will head straight to Bhagyalakshmi temple located in the old city. The road shows and campaigning has been scheduled only after the visit to this small temple located adjoining the iconic Charminar- a monument and mosque.

Around a week ago, when the State Election Commission directed the State government to stop distribution of flood-relief of Rs 10,000 to all those affected in the floods, a controversy broke out. Rumours soon spread that it was the BJP that had demanded the State Election Commission to intervene and stop the distribution. A letter, allegedly written by the Telangana BJP Chief Bandi Sanjay was soon shared widely on social media. Sanjay denied all allegations and declared that he would visit the Bhagyalakshmi temple in the Old City to take an oath of truth, hoping to silence those alleging the BJP has urged the SEC to intervene.

On the last Friday, the BJP Chief visited the temple that is located adjoining the iconic Charminar and hundreds of followers joined the leader as a result of which mild tension prevailed in Charminar.

BJP has time and again spoken about changing the name of Hyderabad to Bhagyanagar. Tejasvi Surya and several other leaders often refer to the city as Bhagyanagar and this had recently skirted controversy with Twitterati responding with #ItIsHyderabadNotBhagyanagar.

According to senior BJP leader NV Subhash, it is not just during elections that this temple gains prominence. “The name Bhagyanagar for Hyderabad came into being with Bhagyalakshmi temple located near Charminar. The temple became the talk of the town during the GHMC elections. The Goddess Bhagyalakshmi is going to show her wrath against the anti-social elements to ensure peace in the Old city.”

“It may be small in size, but it has given strength to Hindu people living in the area. They believe that the Goddess has a kind heart to bless them and ensure bliss for them. It became cynosure for the leaders who wished to win the polls. The temple has its own entity and prominence always”, added Subhash.

Khalida Parveen, a political commentator and a social activist said, “This is clearly an attempt to garner the votes from the Hindu community. A result of such polarisation is that the communal harmony will be disturbed.”

BJP’s Chief Spokesperson K Krishna Saagar Rao felt that the Bhagyalakshmi temple gained prominence because of its history. He said, “Hindus have been refused entry several times earlier citing communal harmony reasons. Courts cleared the way eventually."

Even recently, KTR questioned Bandi Sanjay's visit to the temple. "He has no right to question, who goes to which temple. It's TRS which has made the temple issue bigger, not us. Hindus don't need MIM or TRS permission to visit temples in old city," Krishna Saagar says.

Commenting about claims of BJP leaders that they would eventually rename the city to Bhagyanagar, the Chief Spokesperson said, “GHMC can't rename a city as it's a state subject. However, it is a long-term agenda leading up to the 2023 assembly elections,” TNIE reported

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