The politics of a democracy are not a game of thrones, and a Kerala Minister decided to impress this at a public function recently.
Kadakampally Surendran, the state Minister for Cooperatives, Tourism and Devaswom, re-opened the newsly renovated Mithranandapuram pond in the premises of the Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple on Sunday. The pond had been closed for 52 days for the renovation work.
And while he was at the function, the Minister notices that amidst the sea of similar and equal chairs, there was also a throne that was jutting out.
Apparently, the throne was specially kept there for a seer, in anticipation of his turning up to the event.
But in an equal world, and especially at a government function, Surendran decided that there was no need for any special seating for anybody. And to prove the point, not only did Surendran decide to get rid of the throne, he decided to do it himself.
A photo of the Minister lifting the thron along with Thiruvananthapuram MLA VS Sivakumar soon made it to the news; and around it were murmurs of disappointment and disapproval from those who wanted the special throne.
As per media reports, the seat arranged for seer and chief of the Sringeri mutt, Swami Bharati Tirtha. Reportedly, Bharathi Thirtha was not able to attend the function; the junior pontiff Sri Vidhushekhara Bharati visited the venue but did not get on to the dais, probably because the throne was not there.
But the Minister has stood firm in his stand, and confirmed the sequence of events on Tuesday through a Facebook post, where he said that he intentionally removed the throne, as there was no need of it in a government function. He also reminded that the pond was renovated by the government at a cost of Rs 1.5 crore.
â€śA throne of this size, where two or three can be seated, is not necessary for official functions. I pointed this out and removed it. Saw a few news reports that the swami did not enter the dais because there was no throne," he wrote.
Refusing to give in to religious sentiments in a public function organised by the government, he wrote: â€śThe government renovated the pond by spending Rs 1.5 crore. No swamis, including the Sringeri mutt head Swami Bharati Tirtha, were invited to the function. You can check the notice. When I enquired about the throne, organisers said that it was a seat arranged for the swami if he arrives. I said a throne is not necessary whether it is the head of a Mutt or a Minister. So, I removed it with the help of Sivakumar MLA.â€ť
The BJP state chief Kummanam Rajashekharan and BJP MLA O Rajagopal who were present on the dais understood that the throne was not required.
â€śNobody should worry about my decision. Just one person doesnâ€™t require a royal throne which is big enough to accommodate two or three. Such thrones meant for any religious leaders or priests should be taken away from government functions,â€ť the Minister said.