news Wednesday, February 11, 2015 - 05:30
The News Minute | January 29, 2015 | 12.59 pm IST In a complete u-turn of his past position on religion and god, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has said that he never claimed to be an atheist. A man who famously threatened to file a defamation suit against the chief minister B S Yeddyurappa for alleging that he resorted to black magic, Siddaramaiah now claims that he never declared that he was an atheist. Speaking to journalists in Karkala on Wednesday, after attending a Mahamasthakabhisheka ceremony of Lord Bahubali, Siddaramaiah said that he did not wear his religious beliefs on his sleeve.  However, a report in The Hindu in February 2011 quotes Siddaramaiah as saying that he was an atheist. Besieged by allegations of corruption and facing internal rebellion in the party, Yeddyurappa became well-known for performing religious poojas and visiting temples. He even went to the extent of claiming that several politicians including Siddaramaiah had taken to black magic in an attempt to unseat him from the post of chief minister.  In the face of these remarks, Siddaramaiah, who was then Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly, threatened to file a defamation suit against Yeddyurappa and said: “Basically I am an atheist. I visit temples only during elections with a view not to hurt the feelings of people who join me.” But this is not the first time he has spoken about his religious beliefs or lack of it. In May 2013, after Siddaramaiah was sworn in, Kannada news channel interviewed the new chief minister, and he said on the channel: “I am neither an atheist nor a theist.”  However, when he took the oath of office, he took it in the name of “truth” and not in the name of god. Some months ago, during Dasara, news channels telecast reports about Siddaramaiah apparently wearing footwear when attending a religious ritual that was a part of the Mysore Darasa celebrations. This was attributed to his widely known profession of atheism. His office later had to issue and clarification and material to refute the claims of the television channels. He was, in fact, wearing socks, but not shoes, as it turned out. Siddaramaiah has actually, taken several measures to reiterate his position against superstition by entering his office through a particular door which was considered inauspicious by former chief minister J H Patel, and other similar acts. Now, Siddaramaiah finds himself saying that he just not openly religious. So where does this u-turn come from? From threatening to file a defamation suit to protect his reputation from allegations of black magic, to “neither atheist or theist”, Siddaramaiah has gone to being religious, but just not loud and visible about it. But of course, he could have changed his mind about the gods as he finds himself the target of a united opposition determined to take him down for Arkavathy Layout scam. Read: All the reasons why Siddaramaiah's scared of the Arkavathy de-notification scam Tweet

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