Ahead of Assembly polls, Karnataka politicians have a prayer on their lips

While heavyweights of the Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular) were first off the blocks, prominent BJP leaders have not featured in any major religious ritual yet

April 05, 2023 12:11 pm | Updated 03:26 pm IST - Bengaluru

Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee president and former Minister D.K. Shivakumar (2nd from left) at Srikalahastheeswara swamy temple in Srikalahasti town of Tirupati district in Andhra Pradesh on April 2, 2023.

Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee president and former Minister D.K. Shivakumar (2nd from left) at Srikalahastheeswara swamy temple in Srikalahasti town of Tirupati district in Andhra Pradesh on April 2, 2023.

Religion and politics go hand-in-hand not just to divide votes and but also when it comes to seeking divine intervention to win election contests. With a little over a month to go for the Legislative Assembly elections, scheduled on May 10, and with a close contest on the cards, politicians from Karnataka have been conducting various religious rituals.

Days before the elections and model code of conduct were announced in the State, politicians held various homa and havan ranging from ‘Shatha Chandika Yaga’ to ‘Rahu Ketu Puja’ to ward off misfortune and bring good luck.

While heavyweights of the Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular) were first off the blocks, prominent BJP leaders have not featured in any major religious ritual yet.

In March, former Chief Minister and JD(S) leader H.D. Kumaraswamy conducted rituals involving 100 priests for nine days where the priests chanted 700 ‘Sapthashathi’ mantras and offered homa to please the goddess Durga. Sources from JD(S) confirmed that Mr Kumaraswamy had conducted ‘Shatha Chandika Yaga’ and ‘Mrutyunjaya Homa’ for the well-being of his family, including former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda.

“The ritual was organised by Mr Kumaraswamy at his farmhouse in Ramanagara district in March. Though it was for the well-being of the family, praying for good luck ahead of elections was also the motive. The other reason to conduct rituals is for the good health of Mr Deve Gowda,” a senior JD(S) leader told The Hindu.

All these rituals were performed by priests from Andhra Pradesh. Sources revealed that the advice to perform such rituals was given to Mr Kumaraswamy by Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao. Mr Rao had been conducting similar rituals in the past. A few months ago, Mr Kumaraswamy had met Mr Rao who had supported the JD(S) in Karnataka elections.

On April 2, the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president D.K. Shivakumar offered prayers at Sri Kalahastheeswara swamy temple, near Tirupati, along with his wife. The couple also offered prayers at the shrine of Gnana Prasunambika as well.

Mr. Shivakumar is slated to participate in ‘Rahu Ketu Puja’, a famous ritual at Sri Kalahastheeswara swamy temple, which is believed to ward off misfortune and bring good luck, on May 10. In March, he had participated in a special pooja at the Adichunchanagiri mutt in Mandya district, which is the most revered mutt in the Vokkaliga community to which he belongs.

So far, no BJP leader is known to have performed any major religious ritual. Former Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa, who is known for conducting such rituals, has not performed any so far, and has not visited well-known temples either.

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