Nitish Kumar Plans Grand Sita Temple, JD (U) Says No Constraints Like Ayodhya Ram Temple
Styled after Ram Navami, Nitish Kumar also declared ‘Janaki Navami’ as a public holiday in Bihar. Sita is also depicted as Janaki in some versions of the Ramayana.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Tuesday unveiled plans to construct a grand Sita temple in Sitamarhi district.
Patna: While a Ram temple in Ayodhya has been a poll promise of Bhartiya Janata Party, 400 km away in Bihar’s Sitamarhi district, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Tuesday unveiled plans to construct a grand Sita temple.
BJP’s ally and Janata Dal (United) president, Kumar said he wants to fulfil the desire of ‘millions of people in India and abroad’.
This view was echoed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi last year when he visited Mithila, the land of Sita’s father King Janaka in Ramayana.
Styled after Ram Navami, Kumar also declared ‘Janaki Navami’ as a public holiday in the state. Sita is also depicted as Janaki in some versions of the Ramayana.
JD (U) leaders said that the initiative will help develop the region and there was no harm in building a temple. The party’s general secretary Sanjay Jha said, “Ram temple is a sub-judice matter and the decision has to be taken by the Supreme Court. But there is no such constraint in building a Sita temple.”
The opposition in the state has criticised the move, accusing Kumar of pursuing a ‘soft Hindutva’ policy ahead of the next general election in 2019.
Rashtriya Janata Dal chief spokesman Bhai Virendra accused Kumar of playing in the hands of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and playing the religious card for political benefits. “Now, he has no reservation in sharing the dais with Mahants and religious leaders. Visiting a temple is not an issue but making it a political drama is condemnable,” he said.
He also accused Kumar of adopting a kind of appeasement policy in Mithilanchal to deflect attention from real issues concerning people of Bihar. “He was used to talk about development, building roads and bridges. Nitish Kumar should say how building a temple will develop the region,” Virendra said.
Mithilanchal region is a strong RJD stronghold where Muslims constitute more than 40 percent of the electorate in various assembly segments.
The chief minister inaugurated various projects worth Rs 48 crores, Janaki Navami, and called upon academicians to precisely locate the birth place of ‘Mata Sita’. “We know Raja Janaka was ploughing in his field when Sita appeared but we should know the exact location,” he said.
He assured full support in building a grand Sita temple and completing the Ramayana circuit which will connect Sitamarhi, Buxar and Darbhanga in Bihar with 12 other places - Chitrakoot in Madhya Pradesh, Nandigram in West Bengal, Mahendragiri in Odisha, Jagdalpur in Chhattisgarh, Bhadrachalam in Telangana, Rameshwaram in Tamil Nadu, Hampi in Karnataka, and , Nashik and Nagpur in Maharashtra.
Flanked by his deputy and senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi and other cabinet colleagues, he offered prayers in the temple and took blessings from Mahant Bhadracharya before announcing various schemes to develop the mythological city.
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