Why were government funds used for Kempegowda's statue, asks Karnataka Congress chief DK Shivakumar
Kempegowda statue Bengaluru: President of Karnataka Congress DK Shivakumar today (November 10) questioned as to why government funds were used to install a 108-feet statue of Bengaluru founder Nadaprabhu Kempegowda at the international airport in Bengaluru. The statue is to be unveiled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday (November 11).
Shivakumar said the Bengaluru International Airport Limited (BIAL), which runs the Kempegowda International Airport, should have taken up and completed the work on the statue. He referred to the land and funds provided to the airport by the government and the income the facility earns.
The project, besides the statue, has a heritage theme park in an area of 23 acres dedicated to the 16th century chieftain, all costing the government Rs 84 crore.
With the installation of the statue ahead of Assembly polls next year, there seems to be competition between political parties to claim credit for the legacy of Kempegowda, who is revered, especially by the Vokkaliga community that is dominant in Old Mysuru and other parts of south Karnataka.
IN PICS: PM Modi to inaugurate Terminal 2 of Kempegowda International Airport in Bengaluru on Nov 11
"Doing it (installing the statue) using government funds is a big crime. We (Karnataka govt) have given the land and also funds for the Bengaluru International Airport Limited. Out of 4,200-acre land, 2,000 acre was given at only Rs 6-lakh per acre. Along with money, they have shares. It (BIAL) should have used its money, why use government money," Shivakumar said.
Speaking to reporters here, he said, "Airport should have done it, is it not earning? Hasn't their property price increased, we have given over 2,000 acre for commercial exploitation. Why did you need government money? Why is the Chief Secretary quiet? There was no need to use government money."
The BJP government is now behaving as though the statue installation is their party work, he further alleged. Called the 'Statue of Prosperity,' it is the first, and the tallest bronze statue of a founder of a city as per 'World Book of Records'. The statue, weighing 218 tonne (98 tonnes of bronze and 120 tonnes of steel), has been installed at the Kempegowda International Airport. It has a sword weighing 4 tonnes.
Leader of Opposition (LoP) Siddaramaiah said the Congress government led by him was the one which had first planned to install the statue of Kempegowda at the airport.
"Who started Kempegowda Jayanti? Who established Nadaprabhu Kempegowda Heritage Area Development Authority? Who named the airport after Kempegowda? It was our government. Our government was the one which decided to install a statue when the airport was named," he said.
JD(S) leader H D Kumaraswamy accused the BJP government of using Kempegowda for politics.
Stating that BJP is in an illusion that they can gain Vokkaliga votes by installing the statue of Kempegowda and getting it unveiled by Modi, he said people would give them a befitting response Shivakumar and HD Kumaraswamy are from the Vokkaliga community, so are Ministers C N Ashwath Narayan and R Ashoka who were part of the preparations for statue-unveiling.
Kempegowda, a feudatory ruler under the erstwhile Vijayanagara Empire, founded Bengaluru in 1537. Sculptor and Padma Bhushan awardee Ram Vanji Sutar designed the statue. Sutar built the 'Statue of Unity' in Gujarat and the statue of Mahatma Gandhi in Vidhana Soudha, Bengaluru.
As a precursor to the unveiling, 'mruthike' (sacred mud) was collected from over 22,000 locations across the State, which was mixed symbolically with the mud beneath one of the four towers of the statue today. Twentyone special vehicles collected the sacred mud from villages, towns and cities over the last two weeks.
(With PTI inputs)
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