On Sunday, Kerala Chief Minister Pianarayi Vijayan tweeted Basava Jayanti greetings in Kannada, raising many eyebrows in Kerala and Karnataka.
The biggest surprise was his choice of a couplet from a Basava poem, which preaches about inclusiveness and equality.
"Ivanaarava Ivanaarava Ivanaaravanendu Enisadirayya; Iva Nammava Iva Nammava Ivanammavanendu Enisayya," read the tweet in Kannada.
(Rough translation: Don't ask who is he who is he; Consider him as one among us one among us).
The accompanying English text read: "Let the great Basavanna be our guide to transcend our differences. We will not win the battle against the pandemic by being divided. It takes all of us to win this."
Vijayan apparently became the first Kerala chief minister to sent wishes on Basava Jayanti.
Basava was a 12th century Lingayat saint, social reformer, philosopher and statesman, who rejected discrimination based on gender and social status, superstitions and rituals. He spread his messages through his poems, known as Vacahanas.
The tweet apparently takes a dig at the Karnataka government, which had prevented Keralites from accessing health care centres in Mangaluru in the wake of COVID-19 outbreak. Karnataka's borders with Kerala continue to remain closed, particularly the one at Talappady near Kasaragod.
This was quite evident from Vijayan's advice to stay united in the time of pandemic.
What is more interesting is that Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa and his Lingayat community are Basava followers.
Twitterati hailed Vijayan for his Basava Jayanti wishes and Kannada tweet.
"Thanks much for the tweet in Kannad sir," read one comment from Ashwin Kempedowda.
Ram Viajaynagar commneted: "Very nice to see your tweet in Kannada".