Akali Dal ‘saddened’ over auction of Golden Temple model gifted to PM Modi; ‘grossly disrespectful’

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Senior Akali Dal leader Sukhbir Singh Badal on Wednesday said he is ‘deeply saddened’ by the government’s proposed auction of the model of Golden Temple which was presented to Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a gift. Objecting to the drive, Badal said it would be ‘grossly disrespectful’ to auction off the ‘sacred symbol of the gift and blessings of the Akal Purakh and the Guru Sahibs’.

The former Union minister wrote on X (formerly Twitter) that the move will also ‘hurt the religious sentiments of the Sikh community’. The replica was presented by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee.

The e-auction drive of gifts received by PM Modi began on October 2 and will continue till October 31. As a part of its fifth installment, the Centre listed the model of Golden Temple among over 900 souvenirs. The proceeds of the auction will go to the government’s ‘Namami Gange’ initiative, a project aimed at rejuvenating the river Ganga.

Among other gifts, a statue of Lord Laxmi Narayan Vitthal and goddess Rukmini, replicas of the Gujarat’s Sun Temple, Chittorgarh’s Vijay Stambh and a painting of Banaras Ghat, painted by renowned artist Paresh Maity.

Earlier, PM Modi announced the exhibition of these objects on X and said they display the ‘testament to the rich culture, tradition and artistic heritage of India’.

Badal said the model was presented to PM Modi as a sacred symbol of the gift and blessings of the Akal Purakh and the Guru Sahibs and urged the Prime Miniter to put halt to its auction and hand the model over to the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee.