The State government has withdrawn all restrictions related to public celebration of Ganesha festival this year, except for insisting that the idol has to be environment-friendly.
Revenue Minister R. Ashok said at a press conference here on Monday that Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai had issued instructions to this effect after holding consultations.
With this, all restrictions on Ganesha festivities enforced during the height of COVID-19, such as confining public celebrations to only one idol per ward in Bengaluru and one idol per panchayat in rural areas, have been lifted.
However, the removal of curbs on public celebrations has caused concern among health experts as Karnataka has been identified by the Centre as one of the States that is reporting a steady rise in COVID-19 cases. The Centre recently wrote to the State government reminding about the need for strict action as Karnataka contributed to 10.01% of the country’s new cases in the first week of this month.
Pressure from cadre
The move is being seen as an effort to mollify BJP workers who had started demanding that the restrictions be withdrawn as most of the activities had returned to normal. The cadre had also been been building pressure on government to uphold Hindutva ideology.
The move is also being interpreted as an attempt by the BJP to woo its support base ahead of the 2023 Assembly elections. The Chief Minister is believed to have taken the decision to withdraw the restrictions after discussing with senior colleagues in the Cabinet.