Arch rival and Congress leader Siddaramaiah heaped praises on veteran BJP leader and Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa at an event celebrating the latter's 78th birthday in Bengaluru's Palace Grounds on Thursday. Besides Siddaramaiah, the felicitation function also saw Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and former Chief Minister SM Krishna in attendance.
Siddaramaiah hailed Yediyurappa and said that their political differences should not come in the way of their personal lives, the Times of India reported. He was taking part in a felicitation ceremony in which a coffee table book depicting the life and achievements of Yediyurappa was released by Siddaramaiah.
Yediyurappa was similarly thrilled to receive Siddaramaiah during the ceremony. The duo sat next to each other before they were invited on to the stage. Yediyurappa appreciated Siddaramaiah's gesture. "Opposition leader Siddaramaiah taking part in this event is unique. Taking part in this programme has made this special,"said Yediyurappa.
Hailing Yediyurappa, Siddaramaiah, in turn, said, "He is someone who has a background of a fighter. He came from an ordinary family and he fought his way up and became the Chief Minister. Only those who have come from this background will understand the lives of people.â€ť
Siddaramaiah also added, â€śPolitics and human relations are different. Even if we have political differences, this cannot affect our personal relations because we are human beings. Our differences are limited to politics. We will place our ideas in front of the people and the BJP will place their ideas. It is the people who will decide."
Siddaramaiah was the lone Opposition leader who attended the event. Although Janata Dal (Secular) leader HD Kumaraswamy was invited, he was not present at the event. Union Ministers DV Sadananda Gowda, also a former chief minister, Pralhad Joshi and Suresh Angadi also attended the event.
BJP leader and national general secretary BL Santhosh released a felicitation volume in Kannada with 78 articles from a cross-section of people, including politicians, writers, bureaucrats and spiritual leaders.
The birthday function organised by "Yediyurappa Abhinandana Samiti" (Yediyurappa Felicitation Committee) was seen as an attempt by Yediyurappa and his loyalists to send a message to the party leadership that he was still "strong". The BJP's current dispensation under Narendra Modi and Amit Shah has retired several senior party leaders who crossed the age of 75. However, an exception was said to have been made in Yediyurappa's case
With PTI inputs