The Congress party on Thursday forced a political twist to the funeral of much-revered Lingayat seer Dr Sri Shivakumara Swamigalu of the Siddaganga Mutt who passed away on Monday at the age of 112.
Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister G Parmeshwara made to target Prime Minister Narendra Modi for not being present at Karnataka's Tumkur a day earlier as Dr Swami was given a state funeral, citing other funerals that PM Modi has attended.
Parmeshwara said, "It's only my feeling that the Prime Minister should have attended. He has visited Swamiji himself. We remember Swamiji for his humanity".
The Congress leader attempted to preempt accusations of politicisation, though clearly doing just that, adding, "I am not politicising the death of Swamiji with my comment. I am not telling PM what to do but he should have attended, beyond this I don't want to comment. I'm not a small-minded person, I can't say where PM should go, he is free to go anywhere but he should have attended, that's what I'm saying. It would have raised the level of his office."
However, Parmeshwara was then asked about Congress president Rahul Gandhi also not being there, to which he said, "Rahul Gandhi is not occupying any position. When he will occupy PM position, I will tell him also."
Shortly after the Sri Shivakumara Swamigalu passed away, PM Modi hadpaid tribute:
He also paid tribute while inaugurating the 15th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas at Varanasi.
Raksha Mantri Nirmala Sitharaman had attended the funeral ceremony in the Prime Minister's stead.
Rahul Gandhi had paid tribute to Sri Shivakumara Swamigalu thusly: