After exchanging words for two days with the Bharatiya Janata Party leaders (BJP) over Bhagyalakshmi temple at Charminar, a team of Telangana Congress leaders performed puja at the temple seeking speedy recovery of AICC chief Sonia Gandhi.
CLP leader Bhatti Vikramarka, D. Seethakka, MLA; TPCC working president Anjan Kumar Yadav; AICC secretary Sreenivasan Krishnan; former PCC chief V. Hanumantha Rao and senior leader G. Niranjan performed puja at the temple.
The temple visit assumed significance after the State BJP chief Bandi Sanjay charged the Congress with playing with the sentiments of the Hindus by provoking Congress leader Rashed Khan to launch a signature campaign seeking permission to perform namaz at Charminar.
After offering their prayers, Mr. Bhatti said pujas were performed by the Congress leaders for several years at the Bhagyalakhsmi temple and alleged that Mr. Bandi Sanjay is using the issue to raise religious fervour and create disturbance among different communities with provocative statements.
The temple existed much before Mr. Sanjay and the BJP colleagues ‘discovered’ to further their political ambitions. “Mr. Sanjay is behaving as if he owns the temple,” he charged and dismissed the BJP leader’s allegations that the Congress is trying to remove the temple.
Earlier, controversy erupted after TPCC secretary Rashid Khan started a signature campaign for reopening the mosque at Charminar stating that Muslims used to offer namaz on top of Charminar till it was closed after a family committed suicide by jumping from the historic monument.
He started the campaign requesting the Archaeological Survey of India, the Tourism Ministry and the State government to allow prayers. His argument was that since prayers were being allowed at the temple, authorities should allow namaz in the mosque which according to him was in practice since 1591.
Mr. Bandi Sanjay blamed Congress for raising the namaz issue and demanded Mr. Khan’s arrest for his alleged efforts to foment trouble on a sensitive issue. Mr. Sanjay alleged that the issue is being raked up suddenly with an intention to close the temple as well. “Congress-TRS-MIM understanding,” is well-known, he said.