Shivraj Chouhan, Madhya Pradesh Government Spar Over Proposed Sita Temple

He said necessary approvals had been secured for the temple from the Sri Lankan government as well.

Bhopal:

Bharatiya Janata Party leader Shivraj Singh Chouhan alleged on Tuesday that the Congress government in Madhya Pradesh was "checking the facts" instead of executing his proposal to build a temple devoted to Sita at Divurumpola in Sri Lanka.

The government retorted that it was an empty promise made by the former chief minister as nothing was formalised.

"The entire country and the world know that Sita was kept in Ashok Vatika in Sri Lanka, where she had to go through Agni Pariksha (ordeal by fire). When I visited Sri Lanka, it occurred to me that a grand temple should be built at this site. I am surprised that this Kamal Nath government is talking about checking the facts," Mr Chouhan tweeted in Hindi.

In a video tagged with the tweet, the former chief minister claimed that necessary approvals had been secured for the temple from the Sri Lankan government as well as the Centre.

Accusing the Kamal Nath government of discontinuing several works initiated by his government, Mr Chouhan also demanded that it undertake other projects including installation of a Shankaracharya statue (at Omkareshwar on the Narmada).

Asked about Mr Chouhan's claim, Minister for Religious Trust and Endowments PC Sharma told reporters, "There was nothing on paper (about the proposed temple). We dug into the files to see if anything concrete was put on paper by the Chouhan government but found nothing.

"Whatever we do will be concrete unlike empty promises of Shivraj Singh Chouhan," the minister added.

Mr Chouhan had mooted the Sita temple in September 2012 when then Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa visited Sanchi in Madhya Pradesh to inaugurate the University of Buddhist-Indic Studies.

The temple was proposed to come up at Divurumpola in the island nation where Sita is supposed to have undergone an ordeal by fire as per the epic Ramayana.

The BJP government had also promised to develop Ram Van GamanPath, the route taken by Lord Ram on his way to the 14-year exile as per the mythology, but did nothing, Mr Sharma alleged.

"We had promised to develop this path in our manifesto and we are going ahead on this issue by making provision in the recent budget," the minister added.

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