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Priyank Kharge sets off row with Savarkar remarks, Cong distances itself | Political Pulse News


AS REMARKS by Karnataka minister Priyank Kharge that, in his opinion, the portrait of Hindutva ideologue V D Savarkar should be removed from the Assembly premises in Belagavi sparked off protests by the BJP, the Congress government moved to contain the damage.

Assembly Speaker U T Khader clarified that there was no proposal regarding this, while Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said he had no say in the matter, and it came in the Speaker’s domain.

Addressing the media Thursday, Priyank, the Information Technology and Biotechnology Minister, had said, “I don’t agree with principles and ideologies that promote inequality, and it was the same ideology that led to the killing of Mahatma Gandhi. If allowed, I would remove the portrait of Savarkar today itself, but it has to be done as per rules. I will wait for the Speaker’s decision as I believe in the Constitution.”

Priyank also said he had written to Siddaramaiah on the issue.

Sources in the Congress said the controversy was seen as avoidable given the party’s drubbing in the recent Assembly polls, barring Telangana, where polarising issues such as these helped the BJP. In Karnataka too, the BJP has been targeting the Siddaramaiah government by trying to project it as pro-minorities.

Festive offer

BJP MLA Basanagouda Patil Yatnal, who is the leading face of this campaign, Friday dared the Congress to remove Savarkar’s portrait. “Do you think we will sit quietly?” he said.

When asked about Priyank’s statement Friday, Khader said: “There are 224 elected representatives in the House. Each person has a different thought process and opinion. First and foremost, the ministers and MLAs must punctually attend the House and take part in the proceedings to solve the public’s problems.”

He added: “My responsibility is to unite the society and not to divide. I have not received any proposal (to remove Savarkar’s portrait) of such kind. Let us all construct society on a strong foundation but not destroy it. Let us work towards achieving goals for a better future rather than digging into the past.”

Quoting B R Ambedkar, the Speaker further said: “One should pull the chariot forward and, if one cannot, it is better to leave it there rather than taking it back. The others will take it forward. Hence, let us leave this aside and look at what needs to be done in the future.”

The protests over Priyank’s remarks were also seen in the Maharashtra Assembly, currently on in Nagpur, where BJP legislators staged a demonstration against the Congress leader.

The Savarkar portrait on the Belagavi Assembly premises had been unveiled under the previous BJP regime in December last year. It had invited protests from Karnataka Congress leaders, including Siddaramaiah and current Deputy CM DK Shivakumar at the time.





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