The Congress and JD(S) in Karnataka have opposed the Karnataka government’s move to name a flyover in Bengaluru after Hindutva ideologue Veer Savarkar and termed it as an “insult” to freedom fighters of the state.
The 400-metre long flyover was built on Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan Road in Yelahanka in the city and is scheduled to be inaugurated by Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa on Thursday, which happens to be Savarkar's birthday. The inauguration will be limited to few people due to restrictions over the locdown in effect in the country.
Leader of Opposition and Former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah termed the move to name the flyover after Savarkar as an “insult” to freedom fighters from Karnataka's soil and urged Yediyurappa to drop it and instead name it after a freedom fighter from the state.
In a tweet, he said, "The hasty decision to name Yelahanka flyover after Savarkar is an evidence to say that the administration is not run by an elected government, but by those behind the screen.Chief Minister are you seeking opposition cooperation for such anti-people decisions?(sic)”
Another former Chief Minister and JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy said the decision was an insult to those who fought for the prosperity of the state and it was not right on the part of the government to do so.
"There are several eminent personalities who fought for the development and welfare of the state both before and after independence, flyover could have been named after them. Have other states named things after freedom fighters from the state? I urge the state government on behalf of the people to step back from the decision," he tweeted.
According to sources, the decision to name the flyover at Yelahanka after Veer Savarkar was taken at the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (city civic body) council meeting on February 29 and the formalities have been completed.
Defending the move, Yelahanka MLA S R Vishwanath, who is also the political secretary to Chief Minister said, there was nothing wrong in naming the flyover after a freedom fighter who was jailed and suffered punishment at Kala Pani (erstwhile Andaman jail) punishment for the sake of the country.
Although Savarkar's supporters cite his time in the Cellular Jail, his critics highlight the mercy petitions Savarkar wrote to the British in which he pledged loyalty to them.
Vishwanath termed the attempt to create controversy over naming the flyover after Savarkar as an insult to freedom fighters, adding that several projects and bridges in his constituency have been named after eminent personalities of the state and the county and this was one such move.
Rejecting his contention, Congress said that the naming of the bridge after Savarkar was taken despite opposition, and questioned Savarkar's contribution to Karnataka and Bengaluru.
The Congress and other opposition parties had earlier vehemently opposed the move to confer Bharat Ratna on Savarkar, posthumously.
While the BJP counts on his contribution to India's freedom movement and calls him a “great patriot,” the Congress and other opposition parties have long shunned him for his alleged link to Mahatma Gandhi's assassin.
(With PTI inputs)