Opposition says Karnataka govt turned statue unveiling by PM Modi into a BJP event

In a series of messages on social media, the JD(S) criticised the BJP for not inviting former prime minister H D Deve Gowda to the event despite the party president’s contributions to the city. “After Nadaprabhu Kempegowda, the one person who has contributed significantly to the development of Bengaluru is the only man to become the PM from the Kannada land, H D Deve Gowda. The BJP government in Karnataka has insulted the people of the state by not inviting (the former PM) to the unveiling of the statue of Nadaprabhu Kempegowda,” the party tweeted.

The JD(S) also said that Kempegowda was not the BJP’s personal property and that the party should have involved all parties and leaders in the unveiling of his statue. It pointed out with pictures that the BJP invited Gowda (and Vokkaliga leaders of other parties) when the foundation stone for the statue was laid in 2020 but failed to invite the Vokkaliga patriarch for the unveiling of the statue.

“If this was some local event it could have been ignored, but this is an event to unveil the statue of Kempegowda by the PM of India and the former PM of the country has not been officially invited. By ignoring him, great injury has been caused to the people of the state,” the JD(S) said. “A person who stood for all communities like the Nadaprabhu Kempegowda has been used for political ends by PM Modi. It is quite clear. This is unfortunate. It is true that this has been done with an eye on the Assembly elections.”

The Opposition party also said that state BJP leaders had misguided Modi on the significance of Kempegowda. “Kempegowda is not the private property of the BJP or the fief of a few BJP leaders or an issue to be used for politics. The Nadaprabhu is the pride of all the Kannadigas. A god to all. Bengaluru is also a city for all citizens and source of life for all Kannadigas. By forgetting this fact, the BJP has insulted the people of the state,” the JDS wrote in another tweet.

The Congress said it had honored the founder of Bengaluru by naming Bengaluru International Airport after Kempegowda while in power in 2013-2018. State party chief D K Shivakumar questioned the government move to build a statue for Kempegowda and said the private consortium that runs the airport should have built it. “It (BIAL) should have used its money. Why use government money? There was no need to use government money (for the statue),” the Congress leader said of the statue and the theme park built at a cost of over Rs 80 crore.

“Who started celebrating the birth anniversary of Kempegowda? Who established the Nadaprabhu Kempegowda Heritage Development Authority? Who named the airport after Kempegowda? It was our government that decided to have a statue at the site of the airport,” he said.

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