Special Correspondent

Vishwa Kannada Sammelan was to be held in 2007

It was to mark 50 years of State’s formation

BANGALORE: Did the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Government, which had been grappling with the rehabilitation of flood victims in North Karnataka, commit a faux pas by announcing that it would hold the long-pending Vishwa Kannada Sammelan in February 2011 in Belgaum?

The decision, announced by Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa at the 76th Akhila Bharata Kannada Sahitya Sammelan, held recently in Gadag, has been criticised by cultural and literary figures as being “uncalled for and populist in nature bypassing its relevance.”

Mr. Yeddyurappa holds the Kannada and Culture portfolio.

The Department of Kannada and Culture (a portfolio held by Mr. Yeddyurappa) was making these announcements and demonstrating generosity in order to “lure Kannada minds sentimentally as Kannada is fast becoming a political commodity,” they said.

Sources in the Government say that Vishwa Kannada Sammelan was conceived as part of the Suvarna Karnataka celebrations of 2006 held to mark 50 years of the reorganisation of the State. Holding the sammelan in a way it had been projected since its inception, in a short notice, would not be an administrative reality because of various factors, including infrastructure, they admitted.

The idea of holding the sammelan was first discussed by the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) coalition in 2004. However, the sammelan took a concrete shape during the Janata Dal (Secular) and BJP coalition in 2006, when Mr. Yeddyurappa was Deputy Chief Minister.

The Government had constituted various committees and appointed the Department of Kannada and Culture as a nodal agency for the event.

It was decided that the three-day mega event would be held in February 2007 in Belgaum, but it was deferred in the light of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal’s final award.

The Government deliberated several times on holding the event but could not come to a decision because of various political and administrative factors.

Soon after taking over, Mr. Yeddyurappa had announced that his Government would hold the sammelan and instructed the Department of Kannada and Culture to start preparations.

The Secretary and Director of Kannada and Culture had even visited Belgaum for this purpose.