Bengaluru: JDS on Saturday said it opposed a bill, which religious mutts fear is an attempt to take over their institutions, and hit out at Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah for blaming its coalition government with BJP for first initiating the legislation.
"This issue was started in 1997 by the then government. That bill was implemented in S M Krishna's time in 2003," the party state unit chief H D Kumaraswamy, who headed the JDS-BJP coalition government, told reporters here.
Siddaramaiah had said recently that the JDS-BJP ministry in 2007 had given an undertaking to the Supreme Court stating they would bring an amendment to the law, following which the bill was introduced in the recent Belagavi legislature session.
Facing resistance from Hindu seers and reservations within cabinet, Siddaramaiah said recently that the government would withdraw the bill, which had raised a storm of controversy, with seers coming together to resist the move.
The government had brought in The Karnataka Hindu Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowments (Amendment) Bill of 2014, amid stiff opposition from BJP which termed it as an attempt to interfere in the affairs of Hindu religious institutions.
Kumaraswamy castigated both Congress and BJP for playing mischief to pander to their voter base. "When I was the Chief Minister I was not involved in all these silly issues. I concentrated on developmental issues," he said.
"We are opposing the stand taken by the government to take control of the mutts. We have some kind of attachment to these mutts because their contribution is much more than government's, largely in the field of education," he said.
On government's decision to celebrate birth anniversary of 18th century legendary ruler of Mysuru Tipu Sultan, Kumaraswamy said both Congress and BJP, instead of focusing on development, pick up sensitive matters as these to play vote bank politics.
Asked about his party's stand, Kumaraswamy said, "Tipu issue we support. He also fought against British. According to our knowledge, he is secular."