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The Hindu
The Hindu
The Hindu Bureau

CM lights lamp of Karnataka Jyothi in Hampi to launch year-long celebrations

Defying the myth that those who visit Virupaksha Temple in Hampi would lose power, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah flagged off Karnataka Sambhrama – 50, the year-long celebration of renaming the State as Karnataka, after visiting the Virupaksha Temple in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Hampi and paying his respect to the god on Thursday.

Mr. Siddaramaiah also performed a special puja to the god Virupaksha to indicate the need to discard superstitions. He lit the lamp that former Chief Minister Devaraj Urs had lit 50 years ago in the same place to mark the renaming of the State as Karnataka on the same day 50 years ago.

 “The lamp that we have lit today would illuminate the conscience of the Kannada consciousness in the future. Ever since I became the first president of Kannada Kavalu Samithi in 1983, I never compromised with the vested interests in the matters of Kannada’s land, water, language and its culture,” Mr. Siddaramaiah said adding his government’s commitment to bring back the glory of Vijayanagara Empire in Karnataka.

The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Hampi in Vijayanagara district of Karnataka State was beautifully decorated with lights to mark the beginning of the year-long celebrations of renaming the State.

 “We have planned the year-long celebrations to mark the renaming of the State as Karnataka. The lamp that I have lit today would tour the entire State for the next one year,” Mr. Siddaramaiah said.

Hailing the ideology of Basavanna, the 12th-century poet and reformer, Mr. Siddaramaiah said that he was the staunch follower of Basavanna who challenged the caste system and called against the superstition.

“This is the land of Basavanna. I don’t believe in superstitions just as Basavanna did. Basavanna and other Sharanas had fought against the superstitions and strived to inculcate awareness among people. I too have discarded blind faiths. I believed in the people of this land,” Mr. Siddaramaiah said.

Taking a dig at the previous BJP government in the State that renamed the region of northeastern districts from Hyderabad Karnataka to Kalyana Karnataka, the Chief Minister said that renaming the region would not be sufficient.

“Renaming the region is not sufficient. In a real sense, we need to make the Kalyana [welfare] of the people. We are sincerely working on it. It is with this purpose we [Congress] amended the Constitution to insert Article 371(J) to the Constitution of India to give a Special Status to the region. The Special Status of the region resulted from a prolonged fight of the people of the region including Mallikarjun Kharge [the All India Congress Committee president and the Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha]. After I became Chief Minister, I not only released the pending amount due to KKRDB [Kalyana Karnataka Region Development Board] but also provided the KKRDB with an additional ₹3,000 crore,” Mr. Siddaramaiah said.

“Respect other languages but transact in Kannada,” Mr. Siddaramaiah said appealing to the people of Karnataka to welcome the Karnataka Jyothi, which he had lit at Hampi, with pride and pleasure at your respective places.

“The State was renamed as Karnataka in 1973, 50 years ago, when Devaraj Urs was Chief Minister. Exactly 50 years after, I became Chief Minister of the State in 2023 [for second time]. He had launched the celebrations of renaming the State as Karnataka from Hampi and I too flagged off the celebrations of its golden jubilee today. It is a coincidence,” Mr. Siddaramaiah said.

Before leaving the stage, Mr. Siddaramaiah danced with the performers of Veera Makkala Kunita, a traditional dance form.

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