The Shivraj Singh Chouhan-era project Kamal Nath govt is banking on to blunt Lok Sabha poll damage

The Congress government in Madhya Pradesh is considering to revive a BJP-era project to build a temple in Sri Lankas Divurumpola, believed to be linked to Sita, the wife of Lord Ram. According to a report in The Indian Express, the proposal to construct a temple in Divurumpola in Sri Lanka was first moved by the BJP government in 2010. However, it couldnt become a reality and little progress was made on the ground before it lost power. Now, the Congress government in MP is considering to revive the project with an apparent view to shore in Hindu voters which are believed to be supporters of the BJP. Having displaced the Chouhan-led BJP government in the state after a gap of 15 years, the Congress hopes that a measure such as this could redefine its image among the voters and help shore in the support it needs. The Lok Sabha elections in the state showed that the party had been unable to carry the advantage it had gained in the Assembly elections to the general elections barely four months later. The Congress managed to win only one seat (Chhindwara) in the state with 29 Lok Sabha seats. Congress leaders and Law minister PC Sharma termed the previous governments proposal a drama and said that the Congress government will study all the aspects of the project in detail and then only take a decision. It is under consideration but we won I am discussing what has been done and what is possible, Sharma who also holds the charge of religious and trusts in the Kamal Nath government said. In 2010, then BJPs CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan had first spoken about constructing a temple. He had even raised the matter with Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa in 2013 (now former) during his Sanchi visit in 2013. In between, Chouhan had claimed that all necessary permissions had been obtained from the Sri Lankan government and New Delhi to begin work on the project. A formal proposal for the temple was moved in 2015. An official team of the Madhya Pradesh government visited the site in Divurumpola in 2016 to study the modalities. Then BJP government had claimed that a Bengaluru-based firm had prepared the design of the temple and the construction work will begin soon. The project was expected to be over within a year. The site of the proposed temple is located on the premises of a Buddhist monastery in Divurumpola which is 15 km from Nuwara Eliya, a city in the Central Province of the island nation. It is believed that the ornaments worn by Sita are still buried under a raised platform there. At that time, the expected cost of the temple was between Rs 12 crore and Rs 14 crore. According to SK Mishra, former principal secretary to Shivraj Singh Chouhan, the government had also sanctioned Rs 1 crore for the project but it remained with the tourism department. The sanctioned fund was never used. Mishra said that the priest-in-charge of the Buddhist monastery where the temple was to constructed was all for the temple but he was allegedly booked by Lankan officials for cutting an old tree without obtaining necessary permission. Before the BJP government could revive the project, it lost the power, he said. Divurumpola means a place of oath. It is believed that Divurumpola was the place where Sita undertook agni pariksha to prove her purity after a war between Lord Ram and demon king Ravan in Treta Yug.