Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah unveiled the statues of Ram, Sita, and Laxman, along with a 33-foot Hanuman monolith in Bengaluru, coinciding with the grand inauguration of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya, much promoted and celebrated by the central ruling BJP.

The CM inaugurated the idols at 12 pm today in Hirandahalli, Bengaluru, around the same time as the inauguration of the Ayodhya Ram temple. Speaking to the press, he said, “The inauguration here is not for political purposes. Although I will visit the Ayodhya temple, I strongly believe Lord Ram is present everywhere. I did not visit the Ayodhya temple because it has been politicised, Ram is god for everyone not just for BJP. The Opposition party accusing us of being against Ram is incorrect.“

The ruling Congress party in the State had also abstained from declaring a holiday on the day of the inauguration, contrary to holidays being declared in BJP-ruled States in the country. Siddaramaiah, even amid pressure from State BJP and JD(S) parties, had abstained from doing so.

Defending the party, State Deputy Chief Minister D. K. Shivakumar has said the party does not believe in “publicising their bhakti, respect, and religion,” even as the party ministers are indulgent in poojas. “Siddaramaiah has Rama in his name, I have Shiva in my name. Nobody has to teach us anything or pressurise us. We’ll do our duty,” he said.

This move is seen as a symbolic gesture to affirm support for religious sentiments, in response to accusations of lacking sympathy towards the event. Rajendra Chenni, political analyst, said, “This move is not to counter the Ayodhya inauguration, as it will not have much national effect. Given the national frenzy over the inauguration of the temple and the political shades being attached to it, Siddaramaiah is taking symbolic action to assert that he has nothing against religion and worship, even if he does not agree with the event being politically motivated.”

The CM seems to be compelled to make such a move, as he does not have a strong support base within the party to openly be one of secular and constitutional views, he adds.

Commenting on the move, Prakash S, Joint spokesperson of BJP Karnataka said, “Siddharaimah, motivated by political considerations, is inaugurating the Ram Temple not out of genuine devotion but to convey a message of Hindu affiliation. Facing opposition due to an alleged anti-Hindu image, he is compelled to participate in the event as a damage control measure.” The Congress party in Karnataka is experiencing dissatisfaction over perceived anti-majoritarian stands, prompting this move for political reasons, he notes.