The longest lunar eclipse of the century may have started only at 11.44 p.m. on Friday. But for Karnataka’s Ministers, it seemed to have started much earlier, for even during the day, in the offices and corridors of the State secretariat, most of them remained invisible.

Government sources said that the Ministers had opted to stay away on account of the ‘inauspicious’ lunar eclipse. According to a Karnataka Legislature guide, the attendance of Ministers was less than 20% on Friday.

Faith in celestial bodies

Karnataka boasts of a law against superstitious practices — the Karnataka Anti-Superstition Act — but lawmakers in the State seem to have great faith in the role of celestial bodies in their lives. While Higher Education Minister G.T. Devegowda attended office, none of the remaining 26 Ministers was at the Secretariat, said the guide. Even the number of people who line up to enter the Vidhana Soudha and meet Ministers was much less.

A senior Congress Minister defended the absence of Ministers from the party and said some had gone to Tumkuru to attend the last rites of G. Shivaprasad, brother of Home Minister G. Parameshwara.

Away from Bengaluru, in NR Pura taluk of Chikkamagaluru, about 25 Havugolla tribal families fled their homes near Bale, fearing that their family members could die during the eclipse.

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