Politicians take to Twitter to condole demise of Shivakumara Swamiji; Kharge demands Bharat Ratna for Siddaganga Mutt seer

Shivakumara Swami, the Lingayat seer from the Siddaganga Mutt in Tumakuru passed away at the age of 111 on Monday after a prolonged illness. The senior pontiff who had undergone surgery at a hospital in Chennai for liver complications, had shown signs of improvement but his condition deteriorated in the past few days, doctors who attended on him, said on Monday.

The death of Shivakumara, who was known as the 'Walking God', was condoled by several senior political leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress president Rahul Gandhi.

The prime minister tweeted saying that the Lingayat seer "lived for the people, especially the poor".

"His holiness Dr Sree Sree Sree Sivakumara Swamigalu lived for the people, especially the poor and vulnerable. He devoted himself towards alleviating ills like poverty, hunger and social injustice. Prayers and solidarity with his countless devotees spread all across the world," Modi said.

Congress chief Rahul also took to Twitter to condole the death of Siddaganga Mutt chief, saying his demise leaves behind a "deep spiritual void".

"I am sorry to hear about the passing of Shivakumar Swamiji, pontiff of the Siddaganga Mutt. Swami Ji was respected and revered by millions of Indians, from all religions and communities. His passing leaves behind a deep spiritual void. My condolences to all his followers," Rahul tweeted.

Congress leader in Lok Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge, requested the Centre to confer the Bharat Ratna on the seer. "I request the government to give him Bharat Ratna. He is worthy of getting the title. He was a great man from Karnataka and it is worth it to bestow the Bharat Ratna on him," he said.

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BJP president Amit Shah said that Shivakumara, a noted religious figure and humanitarian, "transformed a million lives with his immense knowledge and positivity".

Other BJP leaders who mourned over Swamiji's demise are party's national spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy and MP Babul Supriyo. Rudy said that Swamiji's "outstanding service to society" impacted many.

Prominent leaders from Karnataka, chief minister HD Kumaraswamy and former chief minister BS Yeddyurappa have expressed grief.

Kumaraswamy and the education society run by the Swamiji announced the demise of the seer.

"I am deeply saddened to announce that the walking God, Parama Poojya Siddaganga Sri, has passed away. It is an irreparable loss to the state. His contribution to the society transformed lakhs of people from across the state. He shaped future of many people," said Kumaraswamy.

The Siddaganga Education Society founded by the seer said, "The seer left for the heavenly abode leaving his mortal body at 11.44 am."

The highly revered pontiff of the influential Lingayats, the major community in Karnataka, was a recipient of Padma Bhushan and Karnataka Ratna, the highest state civilian award.

The Karnataka chief minister announced a three-day state mourning and government holiday on Tuesday. The cremation will be held at 4.30 pm Tuesday in Tumakuru.

Security arrangements are in place as hundreds of devotees have travelled to the Mutt hoping to catch a glimpse of their spiritual leader.

With inputs from PTI

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Updated Date: Jan 21, 2019 18:58:29 IST

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