"Children's books have a lot of thoughts on religion and culture. It is essential to preserve religion and culture. There is an allegation of saffronisation. I advise the education minister to continue saffronisation in Karnataka's 70,000 schools. I wish him good luck in this," said Eshwarappa.
"Saffronisation is not related to any religion. Even planting of saplings could be called saffronisation. Hindus worship trees. The tree requires manure and water. We worship cow, which gives manure as gomatha, and Ganga and Tunga rivers as mother," he said.
The BJP government had earlier stirred a saffronisation controversy after it supported a mutt, which discoursed Bhagvad Gita in schools.
Supporting the decision Visvesvara Hegde Kageri in 2011 said that the teaching of the holy Bhagavad Gita was necessary to pupils as it would inculcate in them good values. He further said that those opposing the idea should leave the country.
He said the government was "open to making Bhagvad Gita teaching compulsory in schools".
But VS Acharya, Higher Education Minister said that the concept of introducing Bhagvad Gita should not be viewed as religious teaching.
"There is no connection between Bhagavad Gita and religion. Gita has more to do with human values," he said.
However, many voiced their opinion saying that it was a way of 'communalise'(d) teaching. In a petition, the Karnataka State Minorities Educational Institutions Managements' Federation challenged the support for the programme and sought the central and the state government's reaction on the same.
"The government is only supporting the programme and is neither organising nor financially backing it," said Kageri.