HDK's unique record: 'Temple visit' every alternate day

The then chief minister-designate H D Kumaraswamy and wife Anitha pay obeisance at the Manjunatha Swamy temple in Dharmasthala. Dharmasthala Dharmadhikari D Veerendra Heggade looks on. (DH File Photo)

Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy has set a new record of sorts by visiting a temple or pilgrimage centre every alternate day since he took over the helm of affairs in the state. 

Since May 24, Kumaraswamy has visited nearly 60 temples and religious centres in his 121-day reign.

Interestingly, it all began much before the election with his father and JD(S) supremo H D Deve Gowda performing the 'Ati Rudra Mahayagna' at the Sringeri Sharadamba Temple in January.

Conducted over 12 days, the ritual costs close to Rs 2 crore and the goddess is believed to bestow the "devotee" with "three boons". 

The JD(S) won just 37 seats in the 224-member Assembly but managed to form the government and was also successful in installing its then state unit president Kumaraswamy as chief minister. 

Even before he could take charge, Kumaraswamy went on a pilgrimage "to pray for the people of the state"

The-then chief minister designate began his tour with his wife Anitha, and his brother and MLA H D Revanna with visit to five temples in Holenarasipur and Channarayapatna taluks. The family members performed abhisheka, puja and other rituals at the temples.

Later, after taking charge, the chief minister visited Kukke Subramanya and Dharmasthala temples in Dakshina Kannada district, and this visit came during the height of the flood crisis in the district and in neighbouring Kodagu. He also visited Suttur Mutt in Mysuru and the Siddaganga Mutt in Tumakuru.

Not only in Karnataka, but Kumaraswamy has also travelled to places of religious significance in other states, including the famous Dargah of Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti in Ajmer.

A deeply religious person, Kumaraswamy had credited Lord Ayappa for him becoming the chief minister of Karnataka. 

Kumaraswamy and his wife Anitha visited Talacauvery, making him the first chief minister to visit the temple since 1999. 

While there, he and his wife partook in a special puja to pray for "good fortune for the state", and when the reservoirs in the Cauvery Basin reached the full level, he asked farmers to rejoice for the bountiful monsoon.

The political crisis

The ongoing tussle for power between the coalition partners, JD(S)-Congress, and the BJP is now heading towards a political showdown with both sides drawing strategies and counter-strategies. 

And in times of crisis, the Deve Gowda family is known to seek divine intervention. That's exactly what the JD(S) patriarch is doing at a time a political storm brews over Karnataka politics - posing a threat to the survival of the coalition government led by his son Kumaraswamy.

He has ensured that his sons - Kumaraswamy and H D Revanna - and their families are part of a special puja he has organised at the Sringeri temple on Saturday morning. 

Gowda's wife Channamma, Anitha and Revanna's wife and son - Bhavani and Prajwal -  took part in the rituals along with Gowda and his sons.

Kumaraswamy, who arrived at the Sharada Peetha by helicopter, is also said to seek the blessings of the Mutt's pontiff Sri Bharathi Tirtha Swamiji. The temple holds special significance for Gowda. Kumaraswamy had also visited the temple a day ahead of his swearing-in ceremony.

He had later said that the Sringeri Jagadguru had asked him to stop corruption in the state after he took over as chief minister.

The Karnataka unit of the BJP slammed the chief minister over his unending temple run, asking him to also focus on issues affecting the state. In a Kannada tweet, the state unit of the BJP said: "May goddess Sharadamba of Sringeri bestow the CM with wisdom to concentrate on issues affecting the state rather than asking people to stage a riot. May he also tour the state the same way he has been visiting temples."

BJP state president B S Yeddyurappa and Kumaraswamy were locked in a heated war of words recently. Kumaraswamy had asked the people of the state to rise in revolt against the BJP, a statement the saffron party said was akin to "sedition".

(With inputs from Ashwini Y S)

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HDK's unique record: 'Temple visit' every alternate day

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