A controversy has erupted after a Surat-based temple dressed up the idol of Lord Swaminarayan in a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh uniform with Congress terming it as very unfortunate.
The issue came to light after a picture, in which Lord Swaminarayan can be seen donning the Sangh outfit -- white shirt tucked into a baggy khaki shorts with black cap and black shoes on -- went viral on social media platforms last evening.
The idol is also seen holding the national flag in one hand.
According to Swami Vishwaprakashji of the temple, which is situated in Laskana area of Surat, the dress was gifted by a local devotee a few days back.
"We have a common practice of presenting the God's idol in various dresses. This RSS uniform was given to us by a devotee. We do not have any other agenda. We did not know that it will create a controversy," Vishwaprakashji said.
Even as the temple authorities denied having any intention of endorsing the views of the right-wing organisation, Congress leader Shankersinh Vaghela said temple authorities must refrain from such activities.
"What do you want to prove by dressing up the God in khaki shorts? I pity those who have done that. Today, you have dressed the Lord in RSS uniform, tomorrow you will dress the idol in the Bharatiya Janata Party's uniform. This is very unfortunate," Vaghela said.
Gujarat BJP chief Vijay Rupani also said that it should not have been done.
"I am really surprised. If at all it was done, I don't approve of it," he said.
IMAGE: The temple authorities have denied any intent of endorsing the views of the RSS or its affiliates. Photograph: Twitter