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K'taka Deputy CM urges Centre to confer Bharat Ratna on late Shivakumara Swami

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Vijayapura, Feb 3 (PTI) Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister D K Shivakumar on Saturday requested the Union government to confer Bharat Ratna posthumously on Siddaganga Mutt seer Shivakumara Swami.

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Shivakumar, who is also the Karnataka Congress state president, put forth the demand hours after the Centre announced conferring the highest civilian award on former Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani.

Speaking to the reporters after offering prayers at the Basavanna temple in Basavana Bagewadi, he said, "I welcome Bharat Ratna for Advani, but I urge the Centre to announce the coveted award to Shivakumara Swami. The seer has made an immense contribution to humanity with initiatives like Anna Dasoha (free commensalities)." Shivakumar said the state government had written to the Centre in the past to give Bharat Ratna to the seer, but that the decision is left to the Union government.

The deputy chief minister said Shivakumara Swami was called the "Walking God" and was highly revered by the dominant Lingayat community of Karnataka for his charitable works.

The spiritual leader died at the age of 111 in January 2019 in Tumakuru where his Math was located. PTI GMS KH

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