The Eidgah Maidan issue in Karnataka is back in the news again as the state heads towards assembly elections. The BJP-administered Hubli-Dharwad Municipal Corporation (HDMC) has decided to rename Hubballi’s Eidgah Maidan to Kittur Rani Chennamma ground. The corporation has asked citizens to file any objections to the proposal in 30 days. In August, a meeting of the civic body passed the resolution to rename.
The Congress party and AIMIM have opposed the move, accusing the BJP of trying to divert attention from pressing issues in the city.
“They are going around the country changing names and they are doing it here as well. But there are far bigger issues like drinking water, etc. People are smart, they will teach them a lesson,” said Congress corporator Arif Bhadrapur from ward 53.
The Karnataka Congress president went a step further, calling it an anti-minority stand. “They want to create an anti-minority political stand. This is the election agenda. They want to create tension and raise emotional issues,” said DK Shivakumar.
The Bharatiya Janata Party argues that it is not a decision made keeping elections in mind. “It is not a political decision, we have been talking about it since August, there was no election heat then. It is being done because of demands coming from people to name it after Rani Chennamma,” said Uma Mukunda, deputy mayor, HDMC.
Meanwhile, a new demand has cropped up in Bengaluru for the renaming of the Eidgah Maidan in the city. Several residents of Chamarajpet area have asked that the ground currently with the revenue department be named after erstwhile Mysuru kingdom rulers, the Wadiyars.
“Chamarajpet has a legacy. So we want it to be renamed as Jayachamarajendra Wadiyar playground, or else we will agitate and force the government,” said Raju, general secretary, Chamarajpet Citizens’ Forum.
The controversy over Eidgah Maidan in Bengaluru started with an ownership tussle between the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike and Karnataka State Waqf Board. Last year, several Hindu organisations sought permission to hold Ganesh Chaturthi and other festivals at the site. The matter reached the Supreme Court, which ordered a status quo. The High Court had initially said the government could give permissions, but the Waqf Board went to the SC.
While, on the other hand, the Karnataka High Court allowed Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations to be held at the Hubballi Eidgah Maidan, stating that the ground belonged to the municipality and there was no dispute about the ownership.
With inputs from News18