BENGALURU: The Kalaburgi district administration’s decision to celebrate Bahmani Utsav has landed the Siddaramaiah government in a controversy ahead of the state assembly elections this year. The Opposition BJP and JD (S) have termed it as an attempt to appease the minority community, while some senior Congress leaders too have said “such exercises” are of no use.
Distancing himself from the controversy, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said he is not aware of the Bahmani Utsav and the state government has not taken a decision to organise it. “I have no information about minister Sharanprakash Patil’s statement about the utsav. You should ask him (the minister) about it,” he told mediapersons who sought his reaction to the BJP’s charge that the government has planned the Utsav to appease minorities. Government’s move to celebrate Tipu Jayanti too had come under severe criticism from the BJP.
Earlier in the day, Medical Education Minister and Kalaburgi district-in-charge minister Sharanprakash Patil told reporters in Kalaburgi that the district administration had planned to celebrate Bahmani dynasty’s contribution to the region by organising the Utsav on March 6 and it was being held along with the Rashtrakuta Utsav on March 4 and 5.
“The BJP leaders do no know what exactly the district administration is doing. They are under the wrong impression that we are celebrating Bahmani Jayanti. It is not a Jayanti and it is a festival,” he said.However, not many in his own party are pleased with the district administration’s decision. Senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge, considered as Patil’s mentor, said such Utsavs or Jayantis in the name of kings or dynasties are of no use and such exercises attract criticism. “Instead, the government should take some constructive activities,’’ he suggested during a press conference in Kalaburagi that was also attended by minister Patil. The minister, however, insisted that it is not a “communal festival or the glorification of any king. It aims to spread light on the contribution of Bahmani dynasty.”Kannada and culture department is providing financial assistance to both the festivals. The department has released Rs. 30 lakh for Rashtrakuta Utsav and it will also release funds for Bahmani Utsav.