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Eye to poll: Modi to pay tribute to Lingayat saint’s statue in UK

| | New Delhi

Amid a bitter tussle between the BJP and the Congress to corner the sizeable Lingayat votes in the poll-bound Karnataka, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be paying tribute to the 12th century Lingayat saint-philosopher and social reformer Basaveshwara at his statue on the banks of the River Thames during his visit to the UK this week.

Both top BJP and Congress leaders — including Amit Shah and Rahul Gandhi — have been visiting one after another Lingayat seers and seeking their blessings ahead of the crucial Assembly polls.

Basaveshwara, who was born in a Kannada Brahmin family about 1105 CE in the town of Bagevadi in north Karnataka, devoted to Hindu deity Shiva, preached social harmony and envisaged a casteless society. Ironically, the caste Lingayat itself turned out to be a higher caste in Karnataka to which the Congress and the BJP are currently trying to woo in the poll-bound State.

His statue was installed in Parliament during the tenure of Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Modi will arrive in London on Tuesday night on a four-day visit during which he will hold bilateral talks with his British counterpart Theresa May and attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM).

The tribute paying event in London is being organised by the Basaveshwara Foundation, a non-profit organisation-based in the UK that has installed the statue of Basaveshwara on the banks of river Thames.

Former Mayor of London borough of Lambeth Neeraj Patil and Chairman of the Basaveshwara foundation have received the official confirmation from the Prime Minister’s office about Modi’s visit to the statue on Wednesday, PTI quoted Patil as saying.

During Patil’s tenure as the Mayor of the London Borough of Lambeth, a prime piece of land was secured along the banks of Thames for installing the statue of the Indian philosopher.

The project was approved by the planning department of the London borough of Lambeth and subsequently by the British Cabinet Minister for culture media and sports as per the Public Statues Act, 1854.

The Basaveshwara statue installed at the Albert Embankment is not only the first statue to be unveiled by an Indian Prime Minister in the UK, but is also the first conceptual statue approved by the British Cabinet in the vicinity of the Parliament.



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