In a move seen as an attempt to reach out to the dominant Vokkaliga community, Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa Friday announced a 'mammoth' statue of city's founder Kempegowda will be installed at the international airport here that is named after him. To make Kempegowda "immortal", the government has also decided to to reconstitute the Kempegowda Development Authority, and release Rs 100 crore to it.
"To make Bengaluru founder Kempegowda immortal our government has decided to release Rs 100 crore. The BJP government has also decided to install a mammoth statue of Kempegowda at Bengaluru airport," Yediyurappa tweeted. According to reports, the government also plans to have necessary infrastructure to showcase and provide information to tourists about the "history and legacy" of Kempegowda.
Kempegowda, referred as "Nadaprabhu", was a feudatory ruler under the erstwhile Vijayanagara Empire who founded Bengaluru in 1537. He is revered by the Vokkaliga community that is dominant in Old Mysuru and other parts of southern Karnataka.
Yediyurappa government's move comes days after thousands of members of the Vokkaliga community, in a show of strength, held a protest rally here against the arrest of senior Congress leader D K Shivakumar and expressing solidarity with him. Some key Vokkaliga leaders also charged the NDA government with indulging in "vendetta politics" and "targetting" the community.
Shivakumar was arrested on September 3 by the Enforcement Directorate in a case of alleged money laundering and has been in the custody of the agency since then. According to some BJP leaders, efforts were also on by opposition outfits to project the Amit Shah-led party as "anti-Vokkaliga" citing Shivakumar's arrest and its role in bringing down the Congress-JDS coalition government headed by H D Kumaraswamy.
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