Pune (Maharashtra), Aug 19 : A temple dedicated to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, along with his bust, erected by a local Bharatiya Janata Party activist in Aundh area here, suddenly disappeared barely 72 hours after it was inaugurated.
The temple and bust, erected and funded by local BJP worker Mayur Mundhe – came up on the roadside and were inaugurated by a senior citizen on Independence Day.
Even as it sparked widespread criticism from the Nationalist Congress Party, Congress and the common citizens, the bust was abruptly removed by some unknown persons late on Wednesday.
Despite repeated attempts by IANS, Mundhe was incommunicado with his mobile switched off, his friends declined to comment on the matter, while an embarrassed city BJP washed its hands off the episode.
Slamming the short-lived monument, former Pune Mayor and NCP Pune President Prashant Jagtap alleged that the temple and bust erected was “illegal” and his party would take appropriate steps in this regard.
The NCP took out a symbolic protest march to the site and had plans to offer diesel-kerosene to highlight the spiraling fuel prices, but were disappointed after Modi’s bust was missing from the spot.
“After this temple came up, we were optimistic that fuel prices would fall, inflation would come down and people will get Rs 15 lakh in their bank accounts. But when we came here to worship, the ‘god’ was missing,” Jagtap said sarcastically.
The Congress Seva Dal castigated the incident as “a mentality of slaves”, while other party leaders have termed the move as a sign of “intellectual bankruptcy”.
Launching what he claimed was the state’s first temple dedicated to Modi, Mundhe had said it was his tribute to the PM for his “bold moves” of abrogating Article 370, ending ‘triple talaq’, and paving the way for constructing the Ram Temple in Ayodhya.
“I feel that for such a person who built the Ram temple in Ayodhya, there should be a shrine, so I decided to construct this temple on my own premises,” said Mundhe, who has some police cases registered against him.
He spent around Rs 200,000 for the bust of red stone and marble, specially brought from Jaipur, and a poem he composed praising the PM was also pasted outside the temple.