BANGALORE: Of late Karnataka Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda is walking in his predecessor B S Yeddyurappa’s footsteps, not in terms of governance, but in visiting temples, mutts and performing homas and havans. After taking over the office from Yeddyurappa, the chief minister has visited almost all the major mutts throughout the state and also participated in the Durga homa that was performed in his native district, Dakshina Kannada.
“I belong to the district—Dakshina Kannada—where religion and religious activities are part of our daily life. Though not ritualistic, I have been a religious man right from my childhood. It is neither fair nor correct to say that I am emulating Yeddyurappa in visiting temples and encouraging seers. There is nothing wrong in what I am doing and what my predecessor did,” says Gowda on his increased visits to temples and mutts.
According to the details from the chief minister’s secretariat, Gowda has visited almost all the major mutts belonging to various communities such as Lingayat, Vokkaliga and Kuruba. He also called on the monks at the Ramakrishna Mutt in Mysore and Bangalore to perform special pujas. Interestingly Gowda is not just sticking to the Hindu deities, he is also meeting priests of other religions.
“The chief minister called on the Archbishop of Bangalore Bernard Mores and invited Muslim religious leaders to his residence for tea. Why don't you highlight all that? Why do you harp only on the chief minister visiting that mutt or the seers?” Law minister S Suresh Kumar, said in a rather unhappy tone. He has turned out to become the conscience keeper of Gowda who assists and enables him to take right decisions.
However, unlike Yeddyurappa, Gowda has not or rather, not yet announced doles to various mutts. In the past, Yeddyurappa was “generous” in giving donations to mutts sometimes even to the tune of Rs 50 lakhs.
“But wait and watch till Sadananda Gowda settles down and presents the budget. He too has to emulate Yeddyurappa in giving largesse to mutts, if he has to cement his place. “The precedent—whether it is good or bad—has been put and one needs to follow it,” a minister added, thus dropping hints about the shape of things to come in future. The joke that is making rounds in the government and political circle is that Sadananda Gowda has to donate some money to mutts, especially those belonging to Lingayat community, in order to keep Yeddyurappa in good humour and on his right side.
Gowda’s presence at a programme organised by Bhagavadgeetha Campaign Committee in the city got him an opportunity to demonstrate his strong and distinct leaning towards religion. Adding impetus to his fondness for spiritualty Gowda said, “The state government will evolve an action plan to introduce Gita in the academics in order to develop spiritual education in the state.”