The nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party government in Chhattisgarh is embracing Hindutva (Hindu nationalism), Dainik Bhaskar, a popular local Hindi daily has charged.
"The Raman Singh government is following a secret Hindutva agenda," the March 7 edition of the newspaper said. "The government is doing this in consultation with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and Hindu sages.
In keeping with its religious policy, the government will provide training to temple priests and their attendants, for which fund has been allotted from the budget, Religious and Cultural Minister Brijmohan Agrawal informed the State Assembly, March 6. He also disclosed the various religious programmes of his ministry.
The state government would also provide financial aid every year to those who go on pilgrimage to Mansarovar, one of the most sacred places of Hindus, the minister said. However, he did not disclose the amount.
According to Dainik Bhaskar estimates, it would cost each pilgrim about Rs. 55,000 for a trip to Mansarovar. Last year, 26 groups had visited the pilgrim centre, each group led by a senior government official.
The state government has also decided to make legislation to organise Kumbh Mela (assembly of Hindu sadhus) in the Hindu pilgrim city of Rajim every year, instead of the current once in four years, the minister announced. And every 12 years, the 'Maha Kumbh' will be organised, he added.
"The BJP government spent Rs 2 crore (20 million) to organise the Kumbh Mela here recently, in which thousands of Hindu sadhus and three sankaracharyas participated," the newspaper claimed.
Declaring Rajim as a religious city, the minister told the Assembly that the aim of organising kumbh in Rajim was "to give an identity to the state at the national level".
The BJP government may have made no bones about its agenda, but this no meaty matter for the opposition - apparently because most of the Congress members are also Hindus.