Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy on Friday regretted that the Central government did not confer Bharat Ratna on the southern state's Lingayat seer Shivakumara Swami, who passed away at Tumakuru on Monday
"It is disappointing that Bharat Ratna was not awarded to late Siddaganga seer from Tumakuru posthumously," a statement from the Chief Minister's Office said.
Kumaraswamy and other political leaders from the state have been urging for the highest civilian honour to be conferred on the late seer, who set up several educational institutions across Karnataka to provide free education to scores of poor students. Successive governments in Karnataka have recommended his name for the award.
The chief minister congratulated those from the state who were chosen to receive the Padma awards.
Actor Prabhudheva, Indian Institute of Science (IISc)'S physicist and professor Rohini Godbole, archaeologist Sharada Srinivasan, sarod player Rajeev Tharanath and environmentalist Saalumarada Thimmakka were chosen from Karnataka for the Padma awards.
State Congress unit president Dinesh Gundu Rao also said it was "disappointing" that the popular seer was not chosen for the Bharat Ratna award.
"While we are proud that senior Congressman Dr Pranab Mukherjee is conferred the Bharat Ratna, we are extremely disappointed PMO and Narendra Modi have ignored our very own walking god Shivakumara Swami who rightly deserved the award," Rao tweeted.
On Tuesday, several political leaders and lakhs of devotees of Shivakumara Swamy reiterated the calls for a Bharat Ratna to be conferred on him, during his funeral ceremony. Political leaders cutting across party lines united in their demand for the recognition to be given to the seer posthumously. In fact, the news of his death was announced with political leaders from different parties standing side by side in Tumakuru's Siddaganga mutt on Monday.
Shivakumara Swamy earned praise for his humanitarian work, particularly for starting over 120 educational institutions in the state for underprivileged children.
Shivakumara Swami has been conferred the Padma Bhushan and Karnataka Ratna.