In what is clearly yet another move to distance herself further from the Reddy brothers, Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj has decided not to visit Bellary to perform the Sri Varamahalakshmi pooja this year as she has been doing for over a decade now.
Ms Swaraj has reportedly turned down the invitation of noted Bellary physician B.K. Srinivasmuthy to perform the pooja at his residence saying she was in mourning for a close relative who had died and therefore, could not participate in the festival this year. Dr Srinivasmurthy usually extends the invitation to Ms Swaraj two weeks before the festival and did the same this year too, but was disappointed when she turned him down, according to sources close to the doctor’s family.
Ms Swaraj had taken a vow to visit Bellary every year for the festival when she contested and lost the Lok Sabha elections against All-India Congress Committee president Sonia Gandhi in 1999. She kept her promise for 12 years in succession except in 2008 when her father-in-law died. She also participated in a mass marriage ceremony organised by the district BJP unit following the pooja after the party came to power in the state. The Reddy brothers who call her “thayee” (mother) turned it into a huge event to draw as much political mileage from it as possible. They even arranged to fly her from New Delhi to Bellary. Asian Age