Udupi, Jun 18: In spite of being invited by Paryaya Pejawar Mutt seer Sri Vishvesha Tirtha Swami, Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah has decided not to accompany President Pranab Mukherjee to Udupi on Sunday where the latter will lay the foundation stone for a private hospital as it would mean visiting the Sri Krishna Mutt.
According to sources in the CMO, the CM had other engagements and therefore deputed a minister to accompany the President.
Asked whether the Udupi Krishna temple controversy was also a reason, officials said: “The CM is not a devotee of the Krishna temple, but he does go to temples. I do not think it might be the prime reason for not accompanying the President.”
Since his days in JD(S), Siddaramaiah has had a blow-hot, blow-cold relationship with the Krishna Mutt. This reached a flashpoint when the Kanaka gopura, an old structure of disputed antiquity, was pulled down in 2004 by the Adamar Mutt to make way for a rajagopuram.
The agitation of Karnataka Pradesh Kurubara Sangha against the gopura's demolition was supported by Siddaramaiah. Vishvesha Tirtha swami had defended the demolition, offering to make amends if it was proved the gopura had any connection with Kanakadasa (revered by the Kuruba community), the 16th century Bhakti poet-saint.
In 2005, when Siddaramaiah was campaigning for Ahinda, he urged the government to take over the mutt administration by bringing it under the muzrai department. The demand by Kurubas and thinkers for taking over the mutt gained momentum after demolition of the Kanaka Gopura.
The security measures for President’s visit are so tight that all the shops on Car Street and in the vicinities of Sri Krishna Mutt and the Inspection Bungalow in Udupi have been closed since Saturday morning. Shops around the Sri Mookambika Temple in Kollur too have been ordered closed for security reasons.
The weekly market at Kallianpur-Santhekatte held here on Sunday had been cancelled by the District Administration. “We have made very tight security arrangements for the President’s visit,” said Superintendent of Police, K.T. Balakrishna.
Devotees will not be allowed on the Sri Krishna Mutt/Temple premises here from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday. The meals for devotees at the temple will be served after 2 p.m. Devotees will also not be allowed inside Sri Mookambika Temple from 10.30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Since the President’s cavalcade will move from Udupi to Kollur on road, the potholes on the roads have been filled.
Siddaramaiah skips President’s Udupi event despite seer’s invitation