Former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Saturday said he is having a Ram temple constructed in his native Siddaramanahundi near here.
He told reporters in Mysuru that said such temples are constructed everywhere and not just in Ayodhya. He said all the villages had such temples and he was also having one constructed in his village.
While he refused to divulge the cost of the construction of the temple, the Congress leader accused the BJP of extracting sympathy for the party by raising donations for the Ram temple in Ayodhya. “It is only to gain publicity for the party”, Mr. Siddaramaiah said before claiming that people are donating money for the temple and not for the BJP.
Asked if the BJP was trying to play on people’s religious emotions, Mr. Siddaramaiah said people have fear and devotion towards god and hence they are donating. However, he reiterated that there needs to be accountability in the collection of funds for the temple in Ayodhya.
When his attention was drawn to Minister for Rural Development and Panchayat Raj K.S. Eshwarappa’s statement questioning who Mr. Siddaramaiah was to seek an account of the funds being collected for the Ram temple in Ayodhya, the former Chief Minister said he was asking for accounts as a citizen of the country.
Though he had not donated for the temple in Ayodhya, Mr. Siddaramaiah said “there is nothing that prevents a person, who has not donated money, to seek accountability”. He recalled that a similar drive was taken up a few years ago when both funds and bricks for the temple in Ayodhya were collected.
Wondering how it was wrong to seek accountability, Mr. Siddaramaiah referred to the claims being made by Sangh Parivar leaders that an amount of ₹1,500 crore had been collected.
Though he said he would not like to say that there has been corruption in the exercise, Mr. Siddaramaiah said their refusal to make public the accounts would mean the money was being been ‘misused’.
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