Will Karnataka Citizens Have to Pay For HDK’s Stars to Align?
From a minister traveling 350 km, to the CM refusing to take an official bungalow, astrology is informing decisions.
Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy has managed to evade ‘Rahu Kaal’ for now. When invites for the oath-taking ceremony were sent out, the peculiar time caught everyone’s attention – not the usual top of the hour 2 pm, but 2:12 pm. The 12-minute delay was introduced after the CM’s brother HD Revanna consulted his astrologers.
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The change in timing was just a beginning. In the months that followed, Revanna started travelling 350km every day to reach work, because his astrologers ruled against living in his house in Bengaluru. Meanwhile, the CM, who has a choice between two official state bungalows, has refused to move in to either, citing vastu issues.
This quirk is not unique to Kumaraswamy and his family. But now, MLAs in his coalition are also pushing for the cabinet expansion to be held before the Ashadha, the inauspicious month, citing astrological reasons.
But what about the impracticality of following astrology to the extent that it has an adverse impact on governance, that too at the cost of the taxpayer’s money?
The Minister Who Travels 350 km To Reach Work
350 km to reach work – this is an idea most people would not even consider. But for Karnataka public works department (PWD) minister HD Revanna it has become a routine.
An advice from Revanna’s astrologer, after he took oath as a minister, was not to live in the houses owned by him in Bengaluru. Although he was interested in a government bungalow, as per the norms, former ministers occupying government bungalows have three months to vacate them.
As former minister HC Mahadevapppa occupies the bungalow, which has been ‘deemed auspicious’ by Revanna’s astrologers, the PWD minister has to wait for couple of months to get an official residence of his choice.
Caught in a tough situation, the minister made a difficult decision – travel 350km from his constituency in Hassan district to Bengaluru every day.
According to reports, he wakes up at 5am, performs puja and other work, and leaves for Bengaluru at 8am, reaching the city around noon. After finishing the official duties, he leaves for his house – Halenarsipura, in Hassan – at around 9pm, only to reach in another three hours. This, despite him getting a traffic clearance.
Talking to the media, Revanna said he is undertaking the travel because he doesn’t have any house allotted in Bengaluru. Revanna’s obsession with astrology, however, will cost the taxpayer in terms of fuel and of course, the chauffeur-driven official vehicle.
Why Karnataka CM Doesn’t Want the Official Residence
Located in the heart of the city, Anugraha and Cauvery, two bungalows have served the previous chief ministers as their official residences. But after coming to power, HD Kumaraswamy hasn’t been keen on occupying either one of them. Instead, he has been staying in his own house in JP Nagar, a prominent residential area, away from the city centre.
According to grapevine, the Chief Minister has been advised that both houses are not vastu compliant. The CM, who is looking for an alternate government house is said to be interested in the Karnataka chief secretary’s residence, which is smaller than the two official residences.
It is not just the astrologer’s advice, but the history of the official residence is also behind the CM’s decision. Chief ministers in the recent past, who have lived in Anugraha, the designated bungalow of the chief minister, have not finished a full term.
Former chief ministers SM Krishna, Dharam Singh and Sadananda Gowda occupied Anugraha and none of them completed their term. Even Kumaraswamy had occupied the bungalow in 2006, when he had become the chief minister. Even though his brother Revanna made some structural changes to the building to make it vastu complaint, Kumaraswamy lost his chief ministership in 2007.
But political analysists say only two chief ministers have finished their full term in Karnataka, Devaraj Urs (1972-1977) and Siddaramaiah (2013-2018), which makes any connection between not completing a full term and the bungalow irrelevant.
Burden for Taxpayer and Traffic Mess
During his tenure as chief minister in 2006, Kumaraswamy had spent Rs 69 lakh on renovating Anugraha. If the chief minister decides to move into chief secretary’s residence, a similar bill – if not more – is expected to be raised for the renovation, according to the PWD department. However, there has not been any decision so far on the house and as of now, the CM continues to operate out of his own house in JP Nagar.
Near his own house, located in the middle of a residential area, CM’s security arrangements have resulted in heavy traffic. Last week, even the traffic police had informed the CM about the inconvenience caused to the public due to the VIP movement.
“The CM gets traffic clearance where no vehicles are allowed on the road. We will have to block all roads till the CM’s convoy passes by. On days when he starts early, it is not a problem but when he leaves for home during peak hours, it creates problem for people. We have informed the CM’s office about this,” said a senior traffic police officer.
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