- Amit Shah attends grand ‘Guru Vandana’ event marking 115th birth anniversary of late Dr. Sri Shivakumara Swamiji at Tumakuru
- Congress top leaders Rahul Gandhi, D.K. Shivakumar and Siddharamaiah paid their respects to the late Seer yesterday
Tumakuru: Top leaders of political parties dashing to religious Mutts and meeting Seers are most common during election campaigning in Karnataka.
This time, however, the VVIP visits have come much earlier, with Union Home Minister Amit Shah of the BJP and former Congress President Rahul Gandhi making a beeline to the Siddaganga Mutt in Tumakuru to participate in the 115th birth anniversary celebrations of Dr. Sri Shivakumara Swamiji, famously known as the ‘Walking God’.
While Rahul Gandhi arrived at Siddaganga Mutt yesterday with a host of party leaders including Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee President D.K. Shivakumar and Leader of the Opposition in the Karnataka Assembly, Siddaramaiah, BJP leader and Union Home Minister Amit Shah arrived in Tumakuru this morning to pay his respects to the late Seer.
Dr. Sri Shivakumara Swamiji passed away in 2019 at the age of 111 and the reins of the Mutt have been taken over by Sri Siddalinga Swamiji.
The Mutt is hosting the grand ‘Guru Vandana’ event to honour the Swamiji today and the Mutt is considered the largest and most influential religious institution for the politically significant Veerashaiva-Lingayat community in Karnataka. The Lingayats are estimated to make up about 17 per cent of the State’s population.
Amit Shah and Rahul Gandhi’s participation in the celebrations comes at a time when both their parties are vying for a piece of the Lingayat pie ahead of the Karnataka elections, which are scheduled around May 2023. Shah’s visit is being seen as the BJP’s Central leadership’s open message to the Lingayat community that the party will continue to support the community and its aspirations.
This confidence-building exercise is meant to remove any misgivings in the Lingayat community after the party replaced B.S. Yediyurappa with Basavaraj Bommai as the Chief Minister. Incidentally, Yediyurappa and his son Vijayendra are the chief organisers of the birth anniversary celebrations of the ‘Walking God.’
Ahead of Amit Shah’s arrival, Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai visited the Mutt yesterday to supervise preparations. His Government last week announced that Jagadguru Renukacharya Jayanthi will be a State celebration, following a request by the Akhila Bharatha Veerashaiva Mahasabha, in a move seen as an attempt to woo a large section of the Veerashaiva-Lingayat community.