According to reports, Siddaramaiah has had a long-standing disagreement with the Mutt over the demolition of a ‘gopura’ in 2004.

Why did Siddaramaiah skip Prez visit to Udupi A 117-year-old gopura and a 13 year feudSiddaramaiah was conspicuously absent.
news Politics Monday, June 19, 2017 - 13:27

A minor controversy has erupted in Karnataka, thanks to Chief Minister Siddaramaiah refusing to accompany President Pranab Mukherjee on his visit to the Sri Krishna Mutt in Udupi.

The President had visited the Mutt ahead of the ceremony to lay the foundation stone for a 200-bed charity hospital and a 400-bed super specialty hospital in Rajangana.

Both CM Siddaramaiah and Governor Vajubhai Rudabhai Vala were absent from the events, while Health Minister Ramesh Kumar, Bengaluru Development Minister KJ George and Fisheries Minister Pramod Madhwaraj attended the ceremony.

With this being the first visit of Mukherjee as President to the region, there was much speculation over whether the CM would accompany him. The speculation was particularly strong as Siddaramaiah is known to have not visited the Sri Krishna Mutt since 2004.

According to a report in The Hindu, Siddaramaiah has visited Udupi twice since becoming the CM, and several times before that, but has always stayed away from the Mutt.  

The ostensible reason for the CM’s distance from the Mutt is a 2004 controversy over the demolition of the old Kanaka gopura built between 1910 and 1912. While the Mutt authorities had claimed that the Kanaka Gopura was dilapidated and needed to be replaced, this was seen as an insult to members of the Kuruba community, since it was seen as irreverence to Bhakti saint Kanakadasa, to whom the gopura was dedicated.

However, the Pejawar seer, Vishwesha Tirtha Swami, had dismissed any allegations of a controversy ahead of the President’s visit to the Mutt. He had said that the new gopura had also been named after Kanakadasa. He added that a Kanaka Mantapa had been constructed on the Mutt’s premises with a statue of the saint, and that the occasion of Kanaka Jayanthi was being celebrated every year.

Despite the seer’s claims, however, the controversy has refused to die down after the CM gave the President’s visit a miss.

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