A farmer has built a temple for Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his farm at a village near Tiruchirappalli in Tamil Nadu,saying he was impressed and had benefitted by welfare schemes like the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi.
The 50-year old farmer, P Sankar, inaugurated the temple last week at his farm in sleepy Erakudi village about 63 km from Tiruchirappalli and performs 'aarti,' every day.
A traditional kolam (rangoli) welcomes people to the modest, 8 x 8 ft tiled roof temple, built at a cost of about Rs 1.2 lakh and a smiling bust of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is placed at the centre.
While a traditional lamp is placed on both the sides of Modi's bespectacled bust, it also features his trademark white beard and hairstyle.
Complete with a tilak on the forehead, the bust sports the Prime Minister in a pink kurta and a blue shawl.
The statue has been adorned with garlands and flowers.
"The work to build a temple for Ayya (a Tamil word equivalent to Sir in English and it refers here to PM Modi) began about eight months back. I could not complete it immediately due to constraints and the temple was inaugurated last week," Sankar said.
Asked what prompted him to build a temple and offer worship, he said that he had benefitted from Centre's welfare measures and liked the Prime Minister for such initiatives.
"I received Rs 2,000 (Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi) scheme for farmers, gas (Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana) and toilet (Individual Household Latrine Scheme) facilities," he said.
"I like him for his personality as well. I have been keenly watching him for long."
Asked if Sankar was a party worker, BJP's Tiruchirappalli Zonal in charge and national council member La Kannnan said the farmer was not a member.
"I sent our party office-bearers to meet him after I came to know about this temple for Modi ji. We have requested him to join the BJP and work for people's welfare," he said.
Sankar said he has consented to become a member of the BJP since he "liked Ayya."
"Now my desire is to perform a proper Kumbabishekam (consecration) for the temple," he said.
Keen to see the prime minister in person, Sankar said he went to Mamallapuram near Chennai in October when Modi visited the seashore town for an informal summit with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.
"I could not meet him. But I am happy to got a glimpse of his cavalcade from a distance," he said.
The farmer said he was self made man after struggling for years in a Gulf country to buy land in his village.
The temple has portraits of deities, Mahatma Gandhi, noted freedom fighter and Congress icon K Kamaraj, All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam stalwarts M G Ramachandran and J Jayalalithaa, Union home minister Amit Shah and Tamil Nadu chief minsiter K Palaniswami.