On the second day of his three- day visit to Karnataka ahead of the 2018 assembly polls, BJP President Amit Shah today visited Adichunchanagiri Mutt, which is highly regarded by the dominant Vokkaliga community in the state. His visit to the mutt at Nagamangala taluk in neighbouring Mandya district, with a significant influence over Vokkaligas, is seen as an attempt to woo the community. Vokkaligas are the second largest community in Karnataka after Lingayats; they are significantly present in the old Mysuru or southern Karnataka region. Shah met the present pontiff of the mutt Nirmalanandanatha Swami and offered prayers at the temple. He later released a biography on Balaganagadharanatha Swamiji, the previous pontiff, titled ‘Story of a Guru’. Lauding the works by the mutt and its pontiffs for the welfare of society, Shah made a special reference about Nadaprabhu Kempe Gowda, the founder of Bengaluru, who is highly regarded by Vokkaligas as he belonged to the community.
“Having come here, I will fail in my duty if I don’t remember Nadaprabhu Kempe Gowda, who was the follower of Adichunchanagiri Mutt,” he said. Shah also appreciated the efforts put in by mutts and religious institutions in India towards ensuring a welfare society. “In many countries in the world it is entirely the government’s duty to ensure the welfare of society. There are welfare states in many countries, but it is only in India where attempts are being made to create a welfare society because of the efforts being put in by mutts and religious institutions along with the government… sometimes they are even ahead of the government,” he added.
Sounding the poll bugle in Karnataka, Shah had yesterday kicked off his visit to the state, declaring that the party stands united and said, ‘Ab Ki Baar, BJP Sarkar’ (This time, a BJP government). Earlier today, he chaired a meeting of the political affairs committee of the Karnataka BJP at the party headquarters here, which was attended by state BJP President B S Yeddyurappa, Union ministers Ananth Kumar, Sadananda Gowda and other state leaders. Sources said that during the meeting, Shah asked party leaders to work together unitedly towards ensuring victory in the coming assembly polls.
Shah’s comment to the faction-riven state unit comes after Yeddyurappa came under criticism from a section of party workers over his alleged “arbitrary style” of functioning with another senior leader K S Eshwarappa openly flagging the issue until both were told to shun open display of differences. Later in the day, Shah will visit the Art of Living Ashram to call on spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravishankar. He is also scheduled to address conveners of various projects and departments of the party, and Vistaraks involved in the party’s ‘Deen Dayal Upadhyay Vistar Yojna.’