MANGALURU: An old Indira Gandhi loyalist has expressed strong disapproval of the lavish celebrations planned for the centenary of the former prime minister in Mangaluru.
Janardhana Poojary, famous for the loan melas he organised as a minister in the Indira Gandhi cabinet, said it is unseemly that such lavish celebrations are being planned at a time when 139 taluks in Karnataka are drought-affected.
The celebrations have been billed Indira 100.
"If Indira Gandhi were alive today, she would have frowned upon the celebrations and would have had the entire pandal in Nehru Maidan [in Mangaluru] removed," Janardhana Poojary said, addressing mediapersons at Patrika Bhavan.
In fact, ministers who attend the celebrations, billed Indira 100, should be sacked by the high command, Poojary said. "I will not spare the chief minister [Siddaramaiah], if he decides to participate in celebrations.''
Lavish celebrations have been a touchy topic in Karnataka, especially in the context of the wedding, rumoured to have cost Rs 500 crore, of mining baron Gali Janardhana Reddy's daughter yesterday.
The Indira 100 celebrations have been billed high with Congress general secretary Karnataka Digvijaya Singh slated to attend.
To this, Janardhana Poojary shot back: "I will not attend the programme even if Digvijay Singh or my father-in-law takes part in celebrations."
He recollected that as Karnataka PCC chief he has toured the state's drought-hit villages and asked ministers to do so themselves. He also criticised Congress ministers for surrendering their principles and attending the wedding of Ganli Janardhan Reddy’s daughter. "People will spit on the ministers who attended the wedding," he warned.