Controversies seem to be flocking around Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, with the latest being a government order that made a book on his achievements "essential reading" in school. The order has now been taken back, but the row over is expected to fuel political attacks on the chief minister, who is already involved in several incidents -- voluntarily or otherwise -- that have tarnished his image.
A circular from the Department of Public Instruction had, earlier this week, ordered all schools and colleges to keep at least two copies of the book "Itta Guri, Ditta Hejje" in its libraries. The book, priced at Rs. 300 per copy, apparently details the achievements of Siddaramaiah, and even contains an essay by scholar Sa Shi Marulaiah on the chief minister. The book has been talked about in certain circles for its hagiographic nature, in which it has portrayed Siddaramaiah.
Now, under pressure from various sides, the department has withdrawn the order that made the book mandatory in all schools and colleges in the state, according to a Bangalore Mirror report. In fact, Siddaramaiah himself has apparently said he had no knowledge of such an order being passed.
The controversy comes just days after the police are said to have held back traffic for 25 minutes for the chief minister's convoy to pass, and an elderly woman having died in an ambulance that was stuck in traffic.
A video, which has gone viral since then, purportedly shows the woman's son initially pleading with the police to let the ambulance through, and then getting violent, as there seems to be no sign of the VVIP convoy coming through. When it finally does, people are heard shouting at the chief minister's car as it passes by.
Siddaramaiah has also found himself in the eye of the storm after a woman kissed him on the cheek publicly, as well as after he changed his car purportedly because a bird had sat on it. The case of the Rs. 70 lakh watch, apparently gifted to him, is also under investigation by the anti-Corruption Bureau.