Hyderabad: Late in the evening, Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao on Saturday directed that the portraits of political leaders, including himself, engraved on the Yadadri Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy temple be removed, following protests by the BJP which had given a week’s deadline for the purpose. All political parties and the Bajrang Dal and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad staged protests at Yadadri town.
Following the Chief Minister’s directions, special secretary K. Bhupal Reddy asked the Yadadri Temple Development Aut-hority to remove all the images other than those pertaining to the god and the temple. The CM wanted the engravings to portray the importance and greatness of the temple.
Mr Reddy asked YTDA special officer G. Kishan Rao and art director Ananda Sai.
Indira Gandhi and Mah-atma Gandhi and government schemes were engr-aved on the temple pillars. They replied that it was done by sculptors.
For most part of the day, however, the YTDA dithered on taking a decision, giving space to the BJP to criticise the state political leadership.
YTDA chief Executive officer G. Kishan Rao told this newspaper earlier in the day that a decision on the matter is yet to be taken. Asked if Mr Chan-drasekhar Rao had given any direction, he had said, “Wait till Sunday”.
BJP state president Dr K. Laxman along with party leaders visited the temple in Yadadri to inspect the controversial engravings but the police stopped them.
For almost two hours, Dr Laxman along with his colleagues tried to enter the temple but failed. They then told the police they they have the right to visit temples.
After taking an assurance from the BJP leaders that they would not hold a protest inside temple, police gave them permission to go ahead.
A senior police officer said the police was deployed in the view of the protest called by the Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad.
After inspecting portraits of Mr Chandras-ekhar Rao, Mahatma Ga-ndhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, the Ashok Chakra, the TS government emblem, Char-minar and the Kakatiya Thoranam on the left side pillars at the main entrance of the temple, the BJP gave the government seven days to remove them.
BJP MLA T. Raja Singh said, “If the portraits are not be removed within the next seven days, the state government will have to face the consequences for disrespecting the sentiments of the Hindu community.”
BJP MLC N. Ramcha-nder Rao said, “the BJP has given a seven-day ultimatum to KCR. He has forgotten that he is a Chief Minister, not god.”
Bajran Dal and VHP volunteers reached the temple since the morning in large numbers but were stopped by the police. About 200 volunteers were briefly detained and released.
Bhongir DCP K. Nara-yana Reddy said activists of several parties like the BJP, Congress, CPI and the VHP and Bajrang Dal staged a dharna in Yadadri.
All leaders and a few followers were allowed on to the hilltop as a law and order situation was expected.