- Siddu’s 75th birthday bash at Davanagere attracts bigwigs from New Delhi
- Fans prepare 3,000-metre-long pictorial biography in praise of the former CM
Davanagere: Amidst a palpable worry within the Congress party circles about a virtual division getting created between the camps of KPCC President D.K. Shivakumar and former CM Siddharamaiah, the 75th birthday bash of Siddharamaiah termed ‘Siddharamotsava’ began in Davanagere this morning.
The bash began at 12 midnight when Siddharamaiah cut a cake in the presence of Congress leaders, including D.K. Shivakumar, K.J. George, M.B. Patil and R.V. Deshpande, at a private hotel in Davanagere. A supporter opened a champagne bottle and Siddharamaiah happily sipped from the bottle.
Though confused in its initial response to the mega event, Congress tried to see it as a private event organised by Siddharamaiah’s supporters. Later amid fears that the event may turn into a show of strength, the word was spread that it would be held on the party forum. Finally, it was repackaged as an event organised by Congress leaders and workers.
As the event began this morning, party heavyweights including from the national capital arrived in Davanagere. Even Siddharamaiah’s rivals are keeping a close watch on the event.
The entire Shamanur Palace Grounds off the Pune-Bengaluru National Highway in Davanagere is covered with different water-proof pandals and stages including a couple of them for VVIPs. Over 6 lakh people are expected at the venue. Last morning’s rain caused apprehensions among the volunteers and organisers. However, as the sun appeared by noon, preparations resumed. Thousands of people landed yesterday and this morning’s headcount is projected at over 3.5 lakh people. People arrived in hundreds of vehicles including buses and trucks.
Thousands of fans, leaders and supporters from Mysuru reached Davanagere in their own cars and other vehicles. As the former CM hails from Mysuru, his supporters are actively taking part in crowd management and food distribution.
Over 1,500 KSRTC buses were booked for the bash and this led to a severe shortage of buses in the region and neighbouring districts for schoolchildren and office-goers to reach their destinations this morning.
While 4.5 lakh chairs have been placed at the venue, over 2,000 cooks have been commissioned to prepare food including Bisi-bele bath and Mysore Pak to be served continuously till today evening.
Over 400 food counters have been opened to serve food to the attendees from 9 am today.
Three stages have been set up at the venue. The main stage is for Rahul Gandhi, Siddharamaiah, Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) President D.K. Shivakumar and other VVIP dignitaries. The stage on the left side is for the legislators and the one on right is for KPCC district and State-level office-bearers and association representatives.
Party’s national leader Rahul Gandhi has already arrived in Davanagere for the birthday celebrations and he visited the Murugarajendra Mutt, a prominent Lingayat seminar in the region, accompanied by Shivakumar.
Giant cut-outs of Siddharamaiah and Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi have been erected. The giant cut-out of D.K. Shivakumar was, however, missing. His photos were found on smaller banners.
3,000-metre-long pictorial biography, songs
Interestingly, Siddharamaiah’s fans and followers from Belagavi have prepared a 3,000-metre-long pictorial biography of the former Chief Minister. The biography was prepared by Anand Chopra Abhimani Balaga and Encourage Group. They collected 500 important pictures from Siddharamaiah’s political career right from the beginning and printed them on a 3-km long cloth.
For the 3-km long cloth, they approached the nearby Ichalakaranji in Maharashtra and based on their recommendation, they went to Surat and ordered for printing. It cost around Rs 8 lakh. Mounesh Badiger of Guru BIG B Arts Design designed the banner. The banner will be opened for public viewing today by Siddharamaiah.
Also, a Kannada music video has surfaced coinciding with the event, which goes like “Siddharamaiah avare mundina CM” (Siddharamaiah is the next CM). A song, Mysuru Huliya… Self-Made Siddanna — written by Chethan Kumar and sung by Girija Siddi and Ravindra Soragavi, praising various welfare programmes introduced by Siddharamaiah as CM, will be released at the event.