Yediyurappa opens flyover named after Savarkar in Bengaluru despite opposition

Published : September 09, 2020 16:58 IST

Chief minister B.S. Yediyurappa. Photo: By Special Arrangement

Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa inaugurated a flyover named after Hindutva ideologue Vinayak Damodar Savarkar on September 8 ignoring severe opposition to the move. The official name of the flyover, which has been constructed on a road named after martyr Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan in north Bengaluru’s Yelahanka, is “Freedom Fighter Veer Savarkar Flyover”. Sharing a video of the inauguration, Yediyurappa tweeted, “Inaugurated the ‘Veer Savarkar Flyover’ constructed by the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) in Yelahanka today.”

The BJP MLA of Yelahanka S.R. Vishwanath, speaking at the inauguration, said, “The spirit of patriotism must spread everywhere, hence the flyover is named after Savarkar. Those who oppose this must read the biography of Savarkar.”

The inauguration was initially slated for May 28, Savarkar’s birthday, but was postponed due to strong opposition by the Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular). The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was keen on inaugurating the flyover before September 10 when the term of the BBMP Council, where the party is in power, comes to an end. The leader of the opposition in the BBMP, Abdul Wajid, of the Congress, stated in May that the issue of the naming was not discussed and was “rushed through the Council without being listed for discussion”.

When the decision to name the flyover after Savarkar was taken in May, former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah of the Congress had come out strongly against the move. At the time, he had tweeted, “Naming the Yelahanka flyover after Savarkar is an insult to this land’s freedom fighters.” Even H.D. Kumaraswamy, former Chief Minister of the JD(S), had objected to the naming. Interestingly, their objections had less to do with the Hindutva association of Savarkar and were linked more to a regional grouse – that local freedom fighters were ignored by the BJP.

The official handle of the JD(S) tweeted on September 8, “The State government is going ahead with the naming of the flyover after Savarkar. In Belagavi, we had to struggle to erect a statue of [Sangolli] Rayanna. In such a situation, the JD(S) opposes the naming of a public flyover after a person who had no connection with Karnataka.” In Belagavi, which is in the north-western part of the State, there is a significant Marathi-speaking population and there was opposition to the recent erection of a statue of the 19th century freedom fighter Sangolli Rayanna.

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