BJP: Yes to Savarkar, No to Kitturu Rani Chennamma

The BJP Government has rejected the proposal to name Belgaum airport after Kitturu Rani Chennamma. The irony is the fact that in the meantime, Yalahanka flyover in Bengaluru is being named after Savarkar.

The tale of Kitturu Rani Chennamma and Savarkar

The BJP led Union Government has out-rightly rejected the proposal to name Belagavi airport after Kitturu Rani Chennamma. Kitturu Rani Chennamma, The queen of Kitturu is one of the foremost names in the history of India’s freedom struggle. The irony is the fact that in the meantime, Yalahanka flyover in Bengaluru is being named after Savarkar.

The history of the issue

Belagavi is one of the commercial cities of the state and hence the airport was upgraded. The upgraded airport was launched during the Congress-JDS coalition government in 2018. During the launching ceremony, the then Minister of Civil Aviation, Ashok Ganapatiraju in his speech had said that ‘if the state cabinet agrees upon the name of Rani Chennama and proposes it to the central government, it (union government) would approve soon.’ It was an assurance.

Accordingly, the then Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy had written to the Union Government on 22nd December 2018, requesting that the Belagavi airport be named after Kitturu Rani Chennamma and Hubballi airport be named after Sangolli Rayanna.

Later, the coalition government fell and the BJP came to power in the state. The new CM BS Yeddyurappa too wrote to the union government requesting to name Belagavi airport after Rani Chennamma. However, the union government which had earlier said that they do not have any objection in naming the airport has now outrightly rejected the proposal.

While the Union Government is reluctant to name an airport after our freedom fighter, the naming of Yalahanka flyover in Bengaluru has been finalized even without it getting proposed in BBMP.

The Yelahanka Flyover controversy

The BJP government has gone ahead in naming Savarkar to the flyover constructed at Dairy circle on Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan road in Yalahanka. In this regard, a public meeting was also organized on May 28th. But the opposition parties started condemning the move by asking what was the contribution of Savarkar in the Indian Freedom struggle. They kept stating that Savarkar didn’t fight for independence but wrote many apology letters to save himself from the ‘Kalapani’ sentence. The opposition parties demanded that the flyover be named after a Kannadiga and staged protests against the move. This became a statewide issue. Hence the ruling BJP government canceled the ceremony itself.

But it is said that finally, the BBMP has decided to name the flyover on Savarkar. They seem to have taken the decision unanimously. And it is also said that the BBMP has submitted this decision. So, the government will examine the proposal and a final order would be issued soon.

Before any government public projects are named, a meeting should be held in BBMP. The opposition parties are alleging that the BBMP did not take any decision and yet approval has been given. If this is true, it is an illegal decision and the question remains as to whether the BJP government is going ahead with naming the flyover illegally.

Regarding this, naanugauri.com spoke with BBMP opposition leader Abdul Wajid and B Harishkumar of Karnataka Ranadhira Pade, who are opposed to the move to name the flyover on Savarkar.

Expressing his anger against the state government B Harishkumar said, ‘the government is going ahead with its anti-Karnataka move. This government had cancelled Tippu Jayanti just because it thought Tippu Sultan was a controversial figure. So, even Savarkar is a controversial figure and why is his name being proposed for the Yalahanka flyover? We had protested against this last month on the streets. At that time just to eyewash the pro-Kannada activists, they had cancelled the event and now they are quietly going ahead with the name of Savarkar. The people of Karnataka will never forgive such a decision. Only Kannadiga’s name should be considered in Karnataka. Hence we will go to high court opposing this move of state government.”

Mayor K  Gautam Kumar, who while clarifying this matter said, “The May 28th inauguration ceremony was cancelled but the process of naming the flyover on Savarkar was not stopped. We had invited objections from BBMP but there was just one objection to naming the flyover after Savarkar. Hence, a meeting of the BBMP members took place on Tuesday, and in this meeting, everyone has agreed unanimously in naming the flyover after Savarkar. The proposal has been submitted to the state government and the further process will be done the state government” he said.

But is it true that all the BBMP members have agreed unanimously in favour of naming the flyover after Savarkar? To know the answer, naanugauri.com tried to contact opposition leader Abdul Wajid but he did not receive our call. (If we get successful in talking to him, we will update this story.)

In sum, the issue of whether the flyover has to be named after Savarkar has turned into a  question of prestige for the BJP government. Though the opposition parties have maintained silence, for now, the pro-Kannada activists do not appear to be in a mood to agree with this move. So, we will have to watch how this issue unfolds in the coming weeks.

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