BJP national president Amit Shah came under severe criticism from devotees of the Adichunchanagiri Mutt at Bellur in the district, after a photograph of him sitting cross-legged in front of Nirmalanandanatha Swami, seer of the mutt, went viral on social media.
Mr. Shah visited the mutt, a major religious centre for the Vokkaliga community, on Sunday. He had a closed door meeting with the seer for a while and it was during this meeting that Mr. Shah is said to have shown “disrespect” to the seer by sitting with his legs crossed.
The photo was widely circulated on WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter and many devotees demanded an unconditional apology from Mr. Shah.
The Vokkaliga Sangha here is planning to hold a protest in Mandya and in front of the BJP office in Malleswaram in Bengaluru.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah took a dig at Mr. Shah and said: “He doesn’t know how to conduct himself before the seer.”
Late on Monday, Swami Nirmalananda said in a release that Mr. Shah had sat in that posture by force of habit before he noticed the seer coming into the room. He had stood up on noticing the seer and it should not be misconstrued, he said.