Rahul Gandhi

Union Minister Shreds Cong Over K’taka Temple Tax

Rahul Gandhi

Coming down heavily on Rahul Gandhi after the Congress-ruled Karnataka on Thursday passed the contentious Karnataka Hindu Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowments Bill 2024, Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar said the draft resolution marked a ‘new low’ in ‘appeasement politics’.

The Bill mandates the state to collect 10 per cent tax from temples generating revenue exceeding Rs 1 crore and 5 per cent from shrines with revenue of between Rs 10 lakh and Rs 1 crore.

Weighing in on the draft legislation on Thursday, Chandrasekhar told ANI that the Bill was brought to fill the ‘ATM’ of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and his deputy DK Shivakumar.

In a personalised video message on Thursday, the BJP leader said, “While Rahul Gandhi is holding a Bharat Jodo Yatra in the country, the Congress government in Karnataka has brought the Karnataka Hindu Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowments (Amendment) Bill, 2024 in the assembly to fund the ATM of Siddaramaiah and DK Shivakumar. This marks a new low of appeasement politics. We will oppose this Bill.”

Condemning the draft legislation, the BJP termed it ‘anti-Hindu’.

The party’s state chief and son of former chief minister and Lingayat stalwart BS Yediyurappa, BY Vijayendra, alleged that the Bill was part of a ploy by the Congress government to siphon off donations to temples in the name of taxes to fill its dwindling coffers.

“Corrupt, inept #LootSarkaar with its penchant for anti-Hindu ideology in the guise of secularism, has cast its evil eyes on the Temple revenues. Through the Hindu Religious Endowments amendment act, it is trying to siphon off donations as well as offerings from Hindu temples and religious institutions to fill its empty coffers,” Vijayendra posted from his X handle on Thursday.

“Accordingly, the government plans to gobble up 10 per cent of the Temple revenue exceeding Rs 1 crore & 5 per cent of Temple revenue below Rs 1 crore. This not only reflects the deplorable condition of this government but also shows its abject hate towards Hindu Dharma. Temple funds should be dedicatedly utilized for the renovation of temples and to facilitate the work beneficial to devotees, rather than diverting it for other purposes, which would be an injustice and betrayal of people’s religious beliefs,” he alleged.

“Why only Hindu temples are targeted for revenue, leaving out other religions, is a question raised by millions of devotees. Instead of grabbing the devotees’ money, government can install “Donation Boxes” so that the concerned citizens can help this penniless govt boost its revenue as a Gesture of Goodwill!” he posted further.

Hitting back at the BJP, Karnataka minister Ramalinga Reddy told media persons, “It was BS Yediyurappa and Sadananda Gowda (former chief misters) who brought amendments to the Hindu Religious Act in 2011. The amendments enabled the then government to collect money from temples. This is not ours but a Bill of the previous BJP government. (ANI)

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