The Congress has also demanded that Shivakumara Swamy, who passed away on Monday, be conferred the Bharat Ratna.

Congress targets PM Modi over his absence at Siddaganga seers funeral in Karnataka
news Controversy Wednesday, January 23, 2019 - 12:37

A day after 111-year-old chief seer of the Siddaganga Mutt, Shivakumara Swamy was laid to rest in Tumakuru, the Congress has targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi for not attending his funeral. Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara took to Twitter to question the Prime Minister’s absence and added that repeated requests to confer the Lingayat seer the Bharat Ratna have gone in vain.

“Swamiji (Sri Shivakumara Swami of Siddaganga Mutt) served humanity. PM should have attended the cremation ceremony. I am not saying where else PM should have gone. I am not a small-minded person. If PM would have attended, it would have raised the level of his office,” Parameshwara said, speaking to the media on Wednesday.  

Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had come to Tumakuru to pay last respects on behalf of Prime Minister Modi on Tuesday. The body of the deceased seer was kept on display at the Gosala Siddeshwara Vedike at the mutt throughout the day and lakhs of devotees turned up to offer their tributes.

“PM Modi attends celebrity weddings, meets movie stars but skips the funeral of our NaDedāDuva devaru, who dedicated his life to help the poor and the marginalised. Repeated requests to confer Bharat Ratna on him have gone in vain,” Parameshwara tweeted.  

This is not the first time that the Lingayat seer's name is being recommended for the Bharat Ratna. Successive governments in Karnataka have recommended the seer’s name for the highest civilian award in India. Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy had recently said the Central government should confer the Bharat Ratna on the seer. On Wednesday, Karnataka Home Minister MB Patil and the official handle of the Karnataka Congress, too, made a fresh appeal that the Siddaganga seer is posthumously conferred the Bharat Ratna.

Shivakumara Swamy was the recipient of a doctorate of literature from Karnataka University in 1965, the Karnataka Ratna - the highest civilian honour in the state in 2007, as well as the Padma Bhushan in 2015 by the Union government.

The humanitarian work of the seer had earned praise in 2006 from then President of India APJ Abdul Kalam when he visited Tumakuru in 2006 during the celebrations of the seer's 100th birthday.

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