‘Modi has time for glitz & glamour, not seer’s funeral’

Last Updated 08 February 2019, 12:32 IST

A day after Lingayat seer Shivakumara Swami of the Siddaganga Mutt was laid to rest with state honours, Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi for absenting himself from the funeral.

Parameshwara, who took to Twitter to express his anger against Modi’s absence also taunted the prime minister for receiving the Philip Kotler Presidential Award.

“PM Modi attends celebrity weddings, meets movie stars but skips the funeral of our Nadedāduva Devaru, who dedicated his life to help the poor & the marginalised. Repeated requests to confer Bharat Ratna on him have gone in vain. Truly well-deserved recipient of Philip Kotler Presidential Award,” reads his tweet.

Speaking to reporters, Parameshwara said that he was not politicising the seer’s death.

“It is only my feeling. Swamiji is respected throughout the world. The Prime Minister himself has visited him and so have many presidents, prime ministers and dignitaries, recognising his service to humanity. He picked up the cause of education at a time India needed education for its masses. We are not politicising the seer’s death. In fact, we did everything to respect his ideology and his service. Beyond that there is nothing,” he added.

Justifying his tweet on Modi, Parameshwara said, “The Prime Minister should have come - he should have attended the seer’s funeral. I don’t want to say that he was going here and there - I am not a narrow-minded person. But if he had attended the funeral, the level of Prime Ministership would have gone up.”

When asked why his own party chief, Rahul Gandhi gave the funeral a miss, Parameshwara said, “Rahul Gandhi is not occupying any position in the government. But when he occupies such a position, I will definitely say the same to him also. You are respected because you are the Prime Minister,”

The JD(S) too took a dig at Modi over his absence. “The Siddaganga seer is bigger than Modi in stature. The Prime Minister should have come for the seer’s funeral. He may not have been able to make it owing to prior engagements. However, the Centre should confer the seer with Bharat Ratna at least posthumously,” said JD(S) state president H Vishwanath said.

BJP hits back

The BJP Karnataka, however, countered Parameshwara by hitting out at the Congress for its 'divisive politics'. “PM Modiji knows Indian traditions & has always valued religious icons, unlike your opportunist president. A party that wanted to divide Lord Basavanna's Lingayat community whose preachings Shivakumara Swamiji believed in has now resorted to politics over Shri’s lingaikya. #Shame,” it said in a tweet.

(Published 23 January 2019, 17:51 IST)

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