After much deliberation and despite opposition by Congress members of the House panel of the municipal council, Hubballi Dharwad Municipal Corporation (HDMC) has decided to allow installation of Ganesh idol at the Idgah Maidan (also referred to as Rani Chennamma Maidan) this year for three days.
Hubballi-Dharwad Mayor Iresh Anchatageri announced the decision of the municipal corporation in a late evening press conference on Monday after holding a prolonged meeting with elected representatives, including Union Minister Pralhad Joshi, and senior police officials such as Additional Director-General of Police Alok Kumar and others.
Mr. Anchatageri said that out of the 39 representations received by the House panel, 28 were in support of permitting Ganesh Mandals to celebrate the festival at the Idgah Maidan, while 11 were against allowing any kind of celebrations. After due consultation, the House committee recommended permitting installation of Ganesh idol at the Idgah Maidan, he said.
“Following a report of the House panel, we had a detailed discussion and it has been decided to permit celebrations for three days. The idol has to be installed at the same place where the national flag is hoisted twice a year. Of the six organisations that had sought permission to install a Ganesh idol, we will choose one and announce the name on Tuesday morning. The remaining will be requested to extend their cooperation in celebrating the festival harmoniously,” he said.
Mr. Anchatageri clarified that all the conditions applicable to Ganesh Mandals will be applicable.
On the law and order situation, he said that the celebrations will be held in a harmonious manner without any disturbance. Any request for celebrations of other festivals by different communities will be considered in the subsequent days in an appropriate manner, he clarified.
Regarding the opposition by Congress and AIMIM to the House committee, he said that the Congress, which endorsed setting up the House panel in the council meeting, subsequently changed its decision.
After repeated communication seeking their participation in meetings, the members nominated by the Congress turned up only on Monday, that too to register their opposition to the very formation of the committee and its decision, he said.
Meanwhile, speaking to presspersons, Union Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Coal and Mines Pralhad Joshi said that he welcomed the corporation’s decision on the issue.
To a query, he said that unlike in other cities, the Idgah Maidan in Hubballi was the property of the municipal corporation and the Supreme Court has ruled that the Muslim members have only licence to pray twice a year. The Congress’ change of mind is nothing but appeasement politics, he said.
Earlier in the day, two members of the House panel Niranjan Hiremath and Imam Hussein Eligar submitted a letter opposing the very formation of the committee saying that it was not as per law and that they did not agree with the committee’s decision.