Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy’s Rs 80-crore golden chariot plan for the famous Kukke Subrahmanya temple is being seen as a bid to seek divine intervention for the smooth running of the JDS-Congress coalition in the state with the BJP criticising the move saying that CM Kumaraswamy prioritised the golden chariot over drinking water in the state. Kukke Subrahmanya temple is said to be the richest among the shrines under the state Muzrai department, which administers several temples.
It was reported that Kumaraswamy revived a long-pending project for building a golden chariot for the famous Kukke Surahmanya temple in Dakshina Kannada district, after his astrologer advised him to do so. However, the chief minister said that it was a long-pending proposal, which was mooted in 2005. At that time the cost was Rs 15 crore. But due to rise in the prices of gold, the cost of construction shot up. The government had given its approval to use the gold available with the temple and for purchasing the remaining requirement through banks, it said.
He has asked officials to submit a fresh proposal before the state Cabinet for the chariot, first taken up by the then Congress-JDS coalition government in 2005, after revising the cost estimate of Rs 15 crore when it was cleared earlier.
BJP spokesperson and MLA Suresh Kumar in a tweet questioned whether Kukke Subrahmanya (reigning deity) will desire for a golden chariot (at such a cost) at the time when the state was facing shortage of drinking water. A release from the Chief Minister's Office said devotes of the temple met Kumaraswamy and brought to his notice about the Dharam Singh government's decision and requested him to resume the project.
"In this context, the Chief Minister has directed the officials submit a proposal before the cabinet after revising the estimates, considering today's market value of gold, construction cost," it said.
The order had stated that the chariot be built by using the resources of the temple and public donations, making clear no government grant could be utilised for the purpose.
(With PTI inputs)