A course for priests: MP govt to set up an institute for temple management

MP Chief Minister Kamal Nath
The Madhya Pradesh government is planning to establish an institute for temple management in Bhopal. This institute will teach priests “better ways” of managing temples and monasteries. The institute will have six branches including engineering, architecture, finance, and history. Priests will learn the history of temples, their functioning, the art of performing rituals, their social and religious responsibilities, and so on. The government is planning to spend Rs 50 crore on the infrastructure of the proposed institute.

Why that seat remains empty

While the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) moved quickly to get Om Birla (pictured) elected speaker of the Lok Sabha, the election of the deputy speaker has been in limbo, with the first session of the new Lok Sabha having concluded. This has been unprecedented in recent years. The BJP was unable to convince any regional party to get an MP for the job. In the previous Lok Sabha, the AIADMK's M Thambi Durai was elected deputy speaker, only after 34 days of the Lok Sabha being convened. Opposition parties have wondered why the BJP, with 303 seats in the Lok Sabha, could not elect a deputy speaker of the House. The BJP had approached the Biju Janata Dal and YSR Congress Party (YSRCP), but their leaderships refused. The BJD leadership did not want Bhartruhari Mahtab to occupy the post, while the YSRCP said it could not afford to be seen to be close to the BJP when the Narendra Modi government had not given special category status to Andhra Pradesh.

Two lunches

With the Parliament session having concluded, Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu and Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla thought fit to address press conferences and host journalists for lunch. As the invites were sent on Thursday morning, the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha secretariats realised that journalists would find it difficult to attend lunches hosted by both Birla and Naidu. The initial invites were for Friday. The Lok Sabha secretariat soon sent a revised invite, shifting Birla's press conference and lunch to Saturday. With Birla being much junior to Naidu, the postponement of his press conference was considered proper. However, officials are now concerned if their boss would get sufficient coverage on a weekend. Naidu, famous for his hospitality and for serving sumptuous Andhra food, is hosting the lunch at his residence, while Birla’s will be hosting it in Parliament House.  

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