In a bid to appease the Christian population, controversial Congress leader D K Shivakumar, facing charges of money laundering running into hundreds of crores has sponsored a 114-foot statue of Jesus Christ in his constituency. The proposed 101-foot statue atop a 13-foot pedestal is coming up at Kapalibetta in Harobele village, in a Christian populated locality. Shivakumar had with his own funds, purchased 10 acres of land at Kapalibetta from the government for the trust that is constructing the statue, his office has said while claiming it would be the tallest monolithic statue of Jesus in the world.
On December 25, Shivakumar had laid the foundation at a prayer meet and handed over the title deed for the project. It is learned that Shivakumar will shell out around Rs.100 crores for this project. Some BJP leaders accuse that Shivakumar has turned to Christianity after spending in jail. Some accuse that this was an attempt to appease Congress President Sonia Gandhi to become the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee President.
Coming down heavily on Shivakumar, Rural Development Minister K S Eshwarappa said Congress leaders who opposed the construction of a temple for Lord Ram, who was born in India, were ready to fund construction of a statue of Jesus. In a tweet, he, however, mentioned that Jesus Christ was born in the Vatican, instead of Bethlehem.
“To impress their leader, those in the Congress, who opposed the construction of a grand temple dedicated to Lord Ram, born in our holy country, are going to build from their own money a statue of Jesus, who was born in the Vatican, Eshwarappa tweeted. “Even Siddaramaiah (Congress leader) cannot stop him (Shivakumar) from becoming KPCC President now,” he added.
Former Union Minister and BJP MP Anantkumar Hegde too took on Shivakumar on the issue and tweeted “Here is the Tihar-returned great man who, for the sake of a position, is seeking to please the Italian woman by setting up a huge Jesus statue, thus displaying his gallantry. It won’t be a surprise if more slaves within the Congress compete with each other to do appeasement politics.”
“The Italian woman gives importance to only those who have converted to Christianity. Congress leaders should, at least now, introspect and reject the mindset of slavery in their party and come out,” he said in another tweet. Another BJP MP from Mysuru, Pratap Simha, questioned the motive behind installing the statue and demanded to know whether it was a scheme to convert Vokkaligas of Kanakapura.
In a tweet, he further asked Shivakumar whether he had forgotten seers of Mutts like Siddaganga, Suttur, and Adichunchanagiri. “Erecting the statute of Shivakumara Swamiji (Siddaganga mutt) would have been like a crown on Kapalibetta- isn’t it?”.
Reacting to the criticism, Shivakumar said hundreds of Hindu temples have been built in his constituency and he was not doing it for any publicity. The criticism against him was out of ‘jealousy’ towards his secular outlook, he said. “I had promised them (people) two years ago, asking them not to do anything on the government land. On Christmas day I handed over the title deed to them.
[With PTI Inputs]