BANGALORE: The monsoon is now 10 days behind schedule, prompting Energy Minister D K Shivakumar to talk of organising special prayers across the state.
“Some districts received rains on Friday. But we need good rains across the state so that our reservoirs fill up,” he told Express on Saturday. In the next two or three days, Shivakumar will make an appeal to his friends and followers to fix dates for special prayers at shrines of all faiths.
The previous BJP government had held pujas at all temples under the Muzrai Department and also requested special prayers at mosques and churches when the monsoon was delayed. The government had also released special grants for the purpose.
Shivakumar said he would request party workers and friends to pray for rains at temples, mosques, churches and gurudwaras.
“Drinking water and power shortages cannot be addressed if the rains fail. I hope it rains or we may face a lot of difficulties after 10-15 days,” he explained.
In the 1980s, the then Chief Minister R Gundu Rao had directed the Muzrai Department to hold special pujas to appease the rain gods. Since then, several chief ministers have followed in his footsteps. Siddaramaiah, a professed rationalist, does not encourage religious practices in government, but may not do anything to rein in Shivakumar, who won’t be spending government money on the prayers.
In rural areas, villagers hold ritual marriages of frogs to appease Varuna, the rain god. The frogs are dressed as bride and groom and taken in a procession in the village.