Amaravati, Jan 8 (PTI) Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy on Friday laid the foundation stone for the re-construction of nine temples that were removed during the previous TDP regime for road widening works in Vijayawada.
The government took up this work in the backdrop of the growing acts of vandalism in temples across the state, which has drawn flak from the opposition parties.
Questioning the timing of the foundation laying, the main opposition Telugu Desam Party lashed out at the chief minister and said people would not believe his 'gimmicks' if the perpetrators of temple vandalism were not brought to book.
The chief minister also visited Indrakeeladri, the abode of Vijayawadas presiding deity Goddess Kanaka Durga, and conducted the bhoomi puja for various developmental works at a cost of Rs 70 crore.
He released a glossy calendar of the Endowments Department containing the pictures of deities of 12 important temples in the state.
Jagan Reddy unveiled two plaques on the banks of river Krishna where the famous Saneeswara Swamy temple will be rebuilt.
This was one of the temples demolished in the year 2016 to facilitate the construction of a fly-over.
The others are small temples that will be re-built at different places in the city.
Endowments Minister V Srinivasa Rao, Municipal Administration Minister Botsa Satyanarayana, Endowments Secretary M Girija Shankar and others were present.
TDP state president K Atchannaidu alleged the move was to divert the attention of people from recent incidents of desecration of temples.
'For 19 months after assuming power, he remained silent but suddenly the Chief Minister has taken up the temple reconstruction works. This is only to divert the peoples attention from the ongoing acts of desecration of Hindu temples,' he said.
State Congress president S Sailajanath also came down on the Chief Minister saying the latter owed an explanation to people of the state over the attacks on temples.
'What are the police doing? What is the Intelligence Department doing? The Congress feels Jagan is hiding the facts, Sailajanath told reporters in Vijayawada.
Jagan Reddy's allegation that political vested interests were instigating attacks on temples only exposed his incompetence, the former minister charged. PTI DBV VS VS