This Maha Sivaratri, politicians made their presence felt as the countdown to the State Assembly elections has begun. They were seen actively participating in Sivaratri programmes at temples and other venues on Saturday, with many seeing the occasion as an opportunity to connect with voters in their respective constituencies.
Large posters and banners were put up in various parts of the city by MLAs, former councillors, and election ticket aspirants. BTM Layout MLA and former Minister Ramalinga Reddy had arranged various Maha Sivaratri events in his constituency where nightlong puja were held.
However, Mr. Reddy, said, “There is nothing new in celebrating festivals. Every year I put up pandals for puja for people to celebrate Maha Sivarathri. This year, everything has been connected to polls as it is an election year.”
BJP leaders also used the same strategy to connect with the voters in the city. Malleswaram MLA and Higher Education Minister C.N. Ashwath Narayan distributed sweets and inaugurated various puja events at Kadu Malleshwara temple.
He also organised a nightlong event of music, dance, and cultural programmes at the government school grounds at Malleswaram.
Celebrations on lake area a violation of law, says activist
Horticulture Minister Munirathna, BJP MLA for R.R. Nagar, organsied Maha Sivaratri celebrations within Mallathahalli lake area. Huge cut-outs, banners, and posters of leaders including Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, Union Minister Pralhad Joshi, and Ministers V. Somanna and R. Ashok were put up near the lake as also a huge temporary statue of Lord Shiva.
Meanwhile, activists alleged that the celebration near the lake is a violation of law. Leo Saldanha, environmentalist, in a release said, “This is in blatant violation of directives of the Chief Justice Bench in WP 38401/2014, where the court stayed any religious functions or installations within lakes, while staying the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike plan to install a Shiva statue inside Begur lake — a rule that reiterates the 2009 Supreme Court order that held the Chief Secretaries of all States responsible to follow the rule of law.”
Mr. Munirathna was not available for comment.