Thiruvalluvar statue to be unveiled on Aug 8, after 18-yr wait

Thiruvalluvar statue to be unveiled on Aug 8, after 18-yr wait

Tamil poet-saint Thiruvalluvar

At an all party meeting here called by Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa, a majority of participants backed the government's decision not to link the unveiling of statue, stalled over the years due to protests by Kannada groups, to other vexed disputes with Tamil Nadu like Cauvery river water sharing and Hogennakkal drinking water project.

During the three-hour meeting, writers and leaders of Congress, JDS, JDU and Left Parties pledged their support to the event being held near Halasur lake in which Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi would participate.

But, members of Kannada outfits staged a dharna and shouted slogans near Vidhana Soudha, the state secretariat, after coming to know about government's decision.
Kannada Chaluvali leader Vatal Nagaraj and Karnataka Rakshana Vedike opposed the unveiling, while R S N Gowda, a Kannada protagonist, stood by the government.

The statue-diplomacy between the two states comes in the midst of decades-long row over Cauvery water sharing and the Hogennakal project aimed at providing drinking water to Krishnagiri and Dharmapuri districts in Tamil Nadu using the Cauvery water to which Karnataka is opposed. Eighteen years after the installation of
"Thiruvalluvar statue would be unveiled in the city on August nine and that of the revolutionary Kannada Poet Sarvajna at Chennai on August 13," Yeddyurappa said, while promising to protect Karnataka's interests on land, water rights and language issues.

"I will meet Karunanidhi, who is in the city and invite him for the function," the chief minister said, as his announcement drew flak from Kannada protagonist organisations which also gave a call for Bangalore Bandh.

Some leaders suggested that both statues be unveiled on the same day but Yeddyurappa said the dates had already been finalised.
"For those who wish to attend the Sarvajna idol unveiling function at Chennai on August 13, the government will make arrangements by train", Yeddyurappa said.
The decision to unveil both the statues came recently after a meeting of Yeddyurappa with Karunanidhi at Chennai.
Yeddyurappa told the meeting that he was willing to lead another delegation of writers and other prominent personalities to Delhi to mount pressure on the Centre to grant the relevant benefits following its decision to grant classical language status to Kannada.

Opposition Congress Leaders in the state assembly Siddaramaiah, his counterpart in Upper house V S Ugrappa, CPI-M leader V G K Nair, well-known writers Chandrasekhara Kambara and others supported the government.
Asked about the security arrangements for the event, City Police Commissioner Shankar Bidari said "wait and see".

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