Bengaluru, Jan 27: A day after Bharat Ratna awards were announced for Nanaji Deshmukh, Pranab Mukherjee and Bhupen Hazarika, Congress and JD(S) accused the Centre of ignoring the contributions of the Siddaganga Mutt seer Shivakumara Swamiji after making promises to the contrary. Congress said the government had chosen to honour those “loyal to them”.
In Kalaburagi, leader of the opposition in the Lok Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge, said: “Those who deserved the Bharat Ratna have been left out…those who are loyal to them (BJP) have been awarded. Shivakumar Swamiji had extended his services to society and offered free food and education to poor children and yet he was not considered by PM Modi. Instead, he (PM) has awarded singers and those who have RSS background.”
Successive governments have made the demand to the Centre to name the seer for the honour. This time, the Centre had claimed to have set up a committee to take up the demand. BJP state president BS Yeddyurappa had said that he and his party would recommend the seer’s name for the award. Following the announcement of the awards, BJP state general secretary Aravind Limbavalli appeared to be washing his hands of the issue, saying, “Can I respond to an issue which I am unaware of?”