BENGALURU: The state government has relented on its stand of not celebrating Hampi Utsav. “The Utsav will be held, but in a simple manner,” Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy said here on Tuesday as the issue was threatening to snowball into a political controversy with opposition BJP accusing the coalition of bias against northern Karnataka.
The state government had earlier decided not to celebrate Hampi Utsav, the 3-day festival of dance, drama and music, as the state was reeling under drought. The government has declared 100 taluks as drought-hit which include all the taluks of Ballari district.
BJP has launched an aggressive campaign against the decision to cancel the event this year by terming it as bias against northern Karnataka. “The state government never bothered to cancel Mysuru Dasara during drought or floods. Dasara is being celebrated without fail. Then why this bias against Hampi Utsav,” BJP leaders Sriramulu and Somashekara Reddy had questioned. BJP leaders had even hit the streets begging for contributions from people of Ballari to conduct the Utsav.
As the issue appeared to take a political turn, the CM hit out at BJP. “Those (BJP) talking about begging to raise funds for the Utsav were the ones who looted Ballari. We need not learn from them,” he said. “I will instruct officials to conduct the Utsav, but keep it simple.”
The date of the event would be announced soon. Earlier it was scheduled to be held from November 3 to 5, but was deferred due to code of conduct enforced due to bypoll in Ballari. It was then to be held in December, but was cancelled citing drought in the state.