Days after kicking up a controversy over the fundraising drive for the Ram temple in Ayodhya by the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP), the leader of the opposition in Karnataka legislature, Siddaramiah, on Friday took part in the rituals to inaugurate a Rama temple built in K.R. Nagar bordering Mysuru.
During his Delhi tour earlier this week, Siddaramaiah had said that he would never contribute to the ‘controversial’ Ram temple being built in Ayodhya. He would rather be happy in taking part in celebrating festivities of lord Ram in his hometown or elsewhere, but not in Ayodhya, the Congress leader had said, adding that he would contribute funds to build any temple, including that of Lord Ram, anywhere in the state.
He had also raised questions over the fund raising drive of the VHP, saying the contributions must be transparent and be made public.
On Friday, Siddarmaiah tweeted pictures of him participating in the inauguration of the Rama temple in K.R. Nagar, stating that he took part in the inauguration ceremony. The temple has been built by the Uppara community, one of the most backward communities in the state.
He also posted another picture in which he could be seen having an animated conversation with Purushothamanandapuri Swami of Hosadurga, an influential seer of the Uppara community.
The two pictures shared by him assume significance for more than one reason. First, Siddarmaiah, who till date was seen as a powerful Kuruba (shepherd) community leader in the state, is planning to position himself as the leader of the backward classes instead of being limited to a community leader. Secondly, he also does not want to antagonise the Hindu voters, observers said.
All these years, very rarely people have seen Siddarmaiah taking part in any temple programme or boasting about it. He has althrough maintained he has never been a temple hopper like most of his contemporaries.
In the past, Siddarmaiah has courted controversies by visiting temples after consuming non-veg food. He had then defended himself byt saying that no god restricts one’s diet or food habits.
Even last month he courted a controversy by asking one of his supporters whether he knows the exact date of birth of Lord Hanuman.