The lone BJP legislator in Telangana, Raja Singh, on Saturday warned that if carvings of the images of Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao and other politicians were not removed from the pillars of the Yadadri temple within a week, the government would be responsible for the consequences.
The controversial BJP MLA visited the Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy temple in Yadadri and issued an ultimatum to the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) government.
He said that if the carvings of Rao, former Prime Ministers Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, other politicians and the TRS symbol 'car' were not removed within a week, devotees from across the country would reach Yadadri and the government would be responsible for the consequences.
Raja Singh went around the famous shrine and witnessed the construction and renovation works at the temple located about 60 km from Hyderabad.
Meanwhile, the police have tightened the security around the temple and stopped a rally by Congress leaders from heading towards the hill shrine.
BJP state chief K. Laxman told reporters in Hyderabad that KCR's move for publicity has hurt the religious sentiments of the Hindus. He said the government would have to pay the price for this.
Images and videos of the carvings went viral on social media on Friday, triggering protests by the opposition parties, which alleged that KCR was trying to portray himself as god. Few Hindu groups also protested the move.
The Yadadri Temple Development Authority (YTDA), of which KCR is the Chairman, late on Friday admitted the presence of the carvings on the outer periphery of the temple.
YTDA Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer G. Kishan Rao said the sculptures of KCR were carved by the sculptors on their own and that no instructions were given to them. "If KCR's image is objectionable, we will remove it," he said.
The other images carved on the pillars include that Mahatma Gandhi, former Prime Ministers Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi, the Ashok Chakra, the emblem of Telangana government, the Charminar and the Kakatiya Thoranam.
Kishan Rao also defended the carvings of state government schemes like 'KCR kits', 'Mission Bhagiratha' and 'Haritha Haram', saying the engravings are aimed at highlighting the reforms brought in by present-day regime.
On the images of TRS symbol car, the official pointed out that the carvings also included images of bullock-cart, cycle rickshaw and bicycle.
The Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy temple is the biggest shrine in the state and is often called Telangana's Tirupati.
After the formation of Telangana state, KCR renamed Yadgirigutta as Yadadri and announced mega plans to develop the hill temple at a cost of Rs 1,800 crore.