Karnataka government faces backlash for cancelling Hampi Utsav after lavish Tipu Jayanti Celebrations, reconsiders decision

BJP Karnataka had hit out at the government stating that they had funds for celebrating the birth anniversary of a fanatic ruler like Tipu Sultan but not for Hampi Utsav

Karnataka Water Resources Minister D K Shivakumar had announced about a week ago that in the light of the drought conditions in 100 taluks across the State, the government has decided not to celebrate Hampi Utsav.

The decision invoked backlash from the BJP which condemned the decision of the Karnataka government and called it pseudo secular.

Due to mounting pressure, the government has now decided to reconsider its decision. However, Shivkumar on Monday denied that the government is reconsidering the decision under pressure. He said, “Our MPs and leaders have expressed their concerns that they would like the festival to happen. But we should celebrate it in a befitting manner — one that showcases Hampi’s glorious past. Leaders like MP Prakash have been spearheading the demand to celebrate the festival, but we are suddenly seeing BJP MLA Somshekar Reddy take credit for it.”

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BJP MLA Somashekar Reddy lashed out at the government and said that people want the Utsav to be a three-day event as always. “We will not accept any small event at Hampi. The Utsav should happen and it should be a mega event. If the government wants funds, we will raise the money by begging in Ballari, but there is no question of not celebrating the Utsav”, said Reddy while addressing the media.

The Karnataka government had faced heated protests by many Hindu groups and the opposition BJP regarding the decision to hold celebrations to honour the 18th-century king Tipu Sultan. The Karnataka Chief Minister decided to go ahead with the Tipu Jayanti celebrations saying that they will not stop the programmes started by the previous governments just because BJP opposed them. The government had even imposed section 144 to ensure smooth conduct of the celebrations.

Hampi, a place with the ruins of the glorious Vijayanagar Empire, is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Every year, a three-day festival is celebrated at Hampi usually in the month of November. The festival includes cultural events like musical shows, puppet shows and promotes regional and national artists as well as religious events associated with the temples. The Utsav attracts a large number of crowd to the place.

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