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Covid, floods and poll shadow over Rajyotsava awards ceremony

Express News Service

BENGALURU : The Kannada Rajyotsava awards ceremony, scheduled to be held on November 1, is likely to be postponed. The awards will be given next year along with those for 2021. This year, its 65th year of Kannada Rajyotsava, 65 dignitaries were to be awarded. The awardees will have to be over 60 years of age, barring the sports category.

The Kannada and Culture Department received more than 1,500 applications for the awards. A committee formed for the purpose has shortlisted 130 names. The CM along with other cabinet ministers including Kannada and Culture Minister C T Ravi will finalise 65 names for the award. Sources from the government said that this year the annual Rajyotsava awards cannot be organised for various reasons.

The State is going for bypolls and the government may not be able to conduct the event due to the code of conduct. Also, the CM is said to be not keen on conducting the ceremony now as half the state, especially North Karnataka, is facing floods. This apart, the Covid-19 pandemic is stated to be another reason.

And since the awardees will be senior citizens, the government feels it is not right to expose them to the risk of Covid-19. In 2008-09, when Yediyurappa was Chief Minister, Rajyotsava awards were not announced, citing heavy floods. But in the subsequent year, awards were announced and given for both the years.

In 2018 too, when H D Kumaraswamy was Chief Minister, there were bypolls at Jamkhandi and Ramanagara along with the Lok Sabha bypolls in Bellary, Mandya and Shimoga. The ceremony was postponed but held in the same month. Speaking to The New Sunday Express, minister Ravi said they are discussing whether to go ahead with the ceremony or just announce the names of the awardees.

“We will have a meeting on October 27 and take a decision,’’ he added. Chief Electoral Officer Sanjiv Kumar said the State government has asked for exemption from the Election Commission of India. The ECI is yet to reply.

CM’s media adviser declines award
Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa’s media adviser Mahadev Prakash has declined the Kannada Rajyotsava award for this year. In a statement, Mahadev Prakash said that he has been in the media for 46 years. “I have learnt that the CM has considered my name for the Rajyotsava award for this year. But I am
holding the post of media adviser at the CM’s office. Though my name was considered on the basis of
my experience, it would send a wrong message in public. One should not consider this as arrogance. I thank the CM and humbly decline the award,’’ he said. He also stated that he did not lobby for the award.

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