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Shah in Tripura temple row

Amit Saha at the temple in Udaipur on Monday. Picture by Abhisek Saha

Agartala: BJP president Amit Shah on Monday visited Tripurasundari temple in Udaipur, 50km from here, triggering a controversy as he climbed up the stairs, well beyond the VIP room, allegedly with shoes on which is against tradition of the temple.

The temple is one of the 51 Hindu shaktipeeths and considered one of the holiest Hindu shrines. The shaktipeeths are significant shrines and pilgrimage destinations in Shaktism.

Shah could not travel in a chopper because of dense fog. He reached the temple premises around 11am and left nearly an hour later.

Chairman of Tripurasundari Mandir Development Committee and CPM MLA Madhab Saha said he was told that Shah climbed the stairs wearing shoes.

In a scathing criticism of the BJP president, Saha said: "He has insulted mata Tripuasundari and belief of people. The temple is revered not only by Hindus, but also by people of other religious communities across the country. The top leader of a pro-Hindutva party such as the BJP should have respected values and traditions of people and Hindu religion."

Till late morning, the BJP state headquarters was clueless about Shah's Udaipur visit.

This afternoon, the in-charge of state BJP's media department, Victor Shome, said: "The party's national president went to Tripurasundari temple in a car and offered puja to the goddess. He left for New Delhi after returning to Agartala."

On Sunday, Shome had said Shah would not address a news conference because of an urgent meeting in New Delhi.

On Monday he said: "We cannot keep track of details of their programmes. VIPs' tour schedule keeps changing frequently."

Later in the evening, while reacting to the controversy, BJP spokesperson Mrinal Kanti Deb said: "A devout Hindu like Shah does not need to take lessons on religion from atheist Marxists."

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