BENGALURU: As the countdown begins for the BBMP elections, the city’s places of worship are abuzz with community leaders urging people to go out and vote on Saturday. In some places, pujas are being offered on behalf of some candidates.
Express spoke to religious leaders from several mosques, temples and churches in the city.
Anwar, who works at Jamia Masjid on Silver Jubilee Park Road, said many people are not aware of their voting rights and powers. “We announce in our mosque during namaz time,” he said. At the Masjid Haji Ismail Sait in Frazer Town, and also at Masjid-e-Quddisia at Jayamahal, there is a similar exercise. Zubair from Masjid Haji Ismail Sait said they are making announcements on the importance of voting.
But at the Jumma Masjid Trust Board in Shivajinagar, office staffer Ali said no political announcements are being made. It’s a similar story over at Eidgah Masjid in Wilson Garden as well, where they believe “voting is beyond religion”.
Seeking Divine Help
Some party leaders have been visiting temples and performing pujas. But at many temples like Devagiri Varaprada Sri Venkateshwara temple, Ragigudda Prasanna Anjaneya Swamy temple in Jayanagar, Sringeri Shankara Mutt at Shankarapuram, political activities and campaigning is discouraged inside temple premises.
A Gali Anjaneya Swamy temple staffer said there are 25 CCTV cameras inside the temple to keep an eye on any such moves.
At Gavi Gangadhareshwara temple, campaigning is not allowed but pujas are performed according to the candidate’s or their follower’s wish.
At the St Mary’s Basilica in Shivajinagar, parties are allowed to campaign. “During the last Sunday mass, we allowed some BJP supporters to come for campaigning. We also told people to go out and vote. But we did not say whom to vote for,” a staffer said. A staffer from the Archdiocese of Bangalore said they have been telling people to vote as it is their right. He said they encourage people to vote for the person, not the party.