Bengaluru: Has Congress president, Rahul Gandhi decided against visiting the Udupi Suttur Mutt, an influential Veerashaiva-Lingayat religious centre of south Mysuru, on Saturday owing to the current controversy raging over an independent religious status for the community?
It would appear so as neither the mutt nor the police seemed to have any clue about his visit on Friday. The state Congress had earlier announced that Mr Gandhi would visit the Suttur Mutt to meet Shivarathri Deshikendra Swamy, a senior pontiff, before beginning his two-day tour of Mysuru and Chamarajangar districts. But seeing the anger of the Veerashaiva-Lingayats against the state government on the minority status issue, Mr Gandhi may have been advised against visiting the Suttur Mutt although it has taken a neutral stand in the controversy, say sources. While Lingayat pontiffs hailed Chief Minister Siddaramaiah for his "'historic" decision on independent religious status for the community, the seer of the Suttur Mutt remained silent on the issue.
But Mr Gandhi could be courting trouble if he hobnobbed with either the Veerashaivas or Lingayats ahead of the Assembly poll in the present volatile situation, say sources.
Going by his latest schedule he is set to arrive at the Mandakalli airport at around 9 am before heading for the Chamundi Hills for a darshan of goddess Chamundeshwari, the presiding deity of the royal family of Mysuru and later address several meeting in Chamarajanagar district and a public meeting in Malavalli, Mandya district.
The CM's tour programme reveals the Congress president is scheduled to interact with block Congress presidents and office-bearers of the party's Hassan and Chikmagalur units on Sunday before attending a meeting of senior party leaders.
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