Bengaluru: The Karnataka government is planning to re-consider its decision to cancel the Hampi Utsav amid growing demands for the annual three-day celebration.
Less than a week ago, water resource minister DK Shivkumar had announced that owing to the drought conditions in many districts, the government would not be celebrating the annual festival. However, the announcement led to mounting pressures from various fronts.
The opposition BJP immediately gave it a communal spin by criticising the government for going ahead with Tipu Jayanti celebrations but cancelling Hampi festival. BJP MLA CT Ravi tweeted, “Tipu Jayanti was celebrated by ‘Unholy Alliance Government’ few days ago on a grand scale. At that time, Karnataka was a prosperous State. Suddenly same Government has decided not to celebrate prestigious Hampi Utsav citing drought in the State. Why this hatred against Hindus?”
Bellary mining baron G Janaradhan Reddy also expressed his concerns over the cancellation of the festival. Reddy said, “The parties of the ruling government recently spent so much money on the Bellary by-elections but why are they making excuses to celebrate a 3-day festival.”
Shivkumar on Monday said the government would discuss the issue with officials before taking a final call. Denying that the government was succumbing to opposition pressure, he said: “Our MPs and leaders have expressed their concerns that they would like the festival to happen. But we should celebrate it in a befitting manner — one that showcases Hampi's glorious past. Leaders like MP Prakash have been spearheading the demand to celebrate the festival, but we are suddenly seeing BJP MLA Somshekar Reddy take credit for it.”
The Hampi Utsav is a three-day long festival that celebrates the reign of the Vijayanagar Empire. Hampi being a tourist destination attracts huge crowds during the utsav, which sees cultural programmes, dances, drama, puppet shows, processions and dazzling fireworks in the region.