Political one-upmanship: Rahul to visit Siddaganga Mutt in Karnataka a day before Shah

In a sudden development, Rahul Gandhi, following the advice of Karnataka leaders, is all set to pay a visit to Siddaganga Mutt on Thursday, a day earlier than the scheduled visit of Amit Shah

Published: 29th March 2022 02:51 PM  |   Last Updated: 29th March 2022 02:51 PM   |  A+A-

Shah is visiting on Friday to take part in the 115th birth anniversary of Sri Shivakumara Swamiji (Photo: File / EPS)

Express News Service

TUMAKURU/BENGALURU: In what could be termed as political one-upmanship between the BJP and Congress, leaders from both parties are keen on impressing the prominent Lingayat community in Karnataka ahead of the assembly polls.

In a sudden development, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, following the advice of Karnataka leaders, is all set to pay a visit to Siddaganga Mutt near Tumakuru on Thursday a day earlier than the scheduled visit of Union home minister Amit Shah on Friday to take part in the 115th birth anniversary of Sri Shivakumara Swamiji.

Gandhi is expected to arrive in Bengaluru at around 2 pm and travel to the Mutt where he will visit the 'gadduge', the tomb of the Swamiji. He is also likely to have his lunch at the Mutt, according to KPCC sources.

"The relationship between the Gandhi family with the Mutts is akin to that of a devotee and the deity. Indira Gandhi used to visit Shringeri Sharada Mutt and take advice while Rajiv Gandhi took part in weeklong rituals there," remarked KPCC president D K Shivakumar.

It may be recalled that AICC president Sonia Gandhi was the chief guest for the 105th birthday of the Swamiji on April 28, 2012 when the religious head was still alive. Former Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa who had severed his relationship with the BJP had formed the KJP at that time.

This time, since Shah is taking part in a similar mega event in which over 2 lakh people are expected to take part, the Congress leadership also wants to showcase its loyalty and that it is not averse to Mutts. This acquires significance in the wake of the leader of opposition Siddaramaiah stirring up a controversy through his alleged statement comparing hijab with the customary attire of the Swamijis.

Bharat Ratna controversy

The issue of a posthumous Bharat Ratna for the Swamiji has evoked controversy ahead of Shah's visit.

Former Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa and his son B Y Vijayendra reportedly responding to the aspirations of the devotees have stated that they would appeal to the Union government to confer the country's highest civilian award on Sri Shivakumara Swamiji.

But the present head of the Mutt Sri Siddalinga Swamiji while disputing it has clarified that the Mutt will never insist on it. "If the award comes naturally it's like 'amritha' (immortal) and if it comes by pressure it's poison. No one should raise this issue," he said.



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