Bengaluru, Apr 30 2019: The state government has decided to restart a 14-year-old project to build a golden chariot for the Kukke Subrahmanya temple, which is seen as Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy’s bid to seek divine intervention for the longevity of his government.
Kumaraswamy has directed officials to prepare a proposal to be placed before the Cabinet, according to a statement from the chief minister’s office (CMO) on Monday.
The project dates back to 2005 when the government had cleared building a golden chariot for the Kukke Subrahmanya temple, nestling in the Western Ghats. Then, the chariot was estimated to cost Rs 15 crore. Now, owing to existing gold prices, the chariot could cost around Rs 80 crore.
While the CMO attributed restarting the project to Kumaraswamy’s recent visit to the temple where he was informed of the pending work, the decision has been linked to his religiosity. On Sunday night, Kumaraswamy held talks with noted astrologer Dwarakanath Guruji, who advised him that completing the golden chariot would bode well for his government.
"I advised the chief minister — complete the golden chariot and that will in turn pull your chariot (coalition government)," Dwarakanath, who provides counsel to many political leaders, told reporters after meeting Kumaraswamy.
In 2005, the chariot was to have been funded without any government aid, but by the temple’s resources and donations from devotees. "It was part of a larger master plan for development of the temple at a cost of Rs 180 crore," a Muzrai department official said. "We are now awaiting a formal proposal from the Dakshina Kannada district administration," the official added.
The chief minister has directed officials to revise the proposal based on the prevailing market rate of gold.
Kumaraswamy’s family is known for its faith in astrology and religious rituals, right from his father H D Deve Gowda to his brother H D Revanna. Kumaraswamy himself moved into his "lucky" JP Nagar house, complete with vaastu modification, ahead of the Assembly elections last year. He visited over 50 places of worship since taking office last year.
BJP spokesperson S Suresh Kumar took a dig at Kumaraswamy. "Will Kukke Subrahmanya desire a golden chariot when the entire state is struggling for drinking water?"
But it is said that Kumaraswamy is wary when it comes to the golden chariot and the Kukke Subrahmanya temple, whose deity is believed to be "very powerful". As Dwarakanath put it, "Kumaraswamy has taken this to heart and has given me his word on completing the chariot."