Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa on Friday announced that a massive statue of Bengaluru founder Kempegowda will be constructed near the city's international airport.
Kempegowda, a 16th century ruler in the Vijayanagara Empire, founded Bengaluru city. The international airport and the major bus and metro station in Majestic is named after him. He is seen as an icon of the Vokkaliga community. Alongside Lingayats, Vokkaligas are a dominant community living in Karnataka.
The move is seen as an attempt to pacify members of the Vokkaliga community, who took to the streets on Wednesday protesting against the arrest of Congress leader DK Shivakumar. On Wednesday, more than 15,000 Vokkaliga community members took to the streets of Bengaluru in protest against the arrest of DK Shivakumar, a popular Vokkaliga community leader from the Congress.
Read: 'Don't misuse caste': BJP on Vokkaliga community protest against DK Shivakumar arrest
"The Karnataka government has decided to immortalise Kempegowda's name. The Kempegowda Development Authority had remained as an announcement and the previous governments did not give anything for this but our government has decided to restructure it and provide Rs 100 crore", Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa wrote in a note that was published in leading Kannada newspapers.
The note goes on to say, "In addition to this, the government has decided to install a huge statue of Kempegowda in front of Kempegowda International Airport."
"Rs 5 crore was already sanctioned to the BBMP and now an additional provision of Rs 100 crore has been sanctioned for various works related to Kempegowda announced by the government. In the coming days, the funds will be used to take up these works," an official from the office of Deputy Chief Minister Ashwath Narayan told TNM.
The statue will also be a point where travellers can learn about the contributions of Kempegowda to the city. A sound and light show will depict Kempegowda the founder and builder of Bengaluru while literature will be published in Kannada and English highlighting his contribution to the city. A blueprint will also be prepared to develop memorials at Avati, Magadi Fort, Yelahanka, Savanurdurga, Huttaridurga and Shivaganga, where he is believed to have spent his last days.