Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday morning urged people not to build temples in his name. Referring to media reports of an idol of his being installed in a temple in Rajkot, Gujarat, Mr. Modi tweeted: "Have seen the news about a temple being built in my name. I was appalled. This is shocking & against India's great tradition."
In a second tweet, he said: "Building such temples is not what our culture teaches us. Personally it made me very sad. Would urge those doing it not to do it."
Mr. Modi's idol is to be installed on Sunday. The temple is not new. It was built in 2006 and people till now had been worshipping photographs of Mr. Modi and an icon of Bharat Mata.
Mr. Modi's intervention comes in the wake of the criticism he had invited upon himself for donning a suit with his name embroidered all over it during the U. S. presidential visit last month. Many of his most ardent bhakts (fans) had found themselves at a loss for words in defending what his critics described as "megalomaniac" and "narcissist" tendencies.
Mr. Modi is not the first politician with a temple built in his name. In June last year – soon after the Lok Sabha elections — a temple was constructed in Mallial town of Karimnagar in Telangana in the name of Congress president Sonia Gandhi by the local unit as a mark of gratitude for the creation of the separate State.