Siddaramaiah’s remarks stirs controversy

Bengaluru, (| Even as election campaigning for the assembly elections in Karnataka is in full swing, former chief minister and senior Congress leader Siddaramaiah has stirred a hornet’s nest by commenting on Lingayat chief ministers. The BJP has picked up the issue and called it an insult to the entire community. A Kannada TV journalist asked Siddaramaiah about BJP’s stance that a Lingayat should become the next Chief Minister, the senior Congress leader said “There is already a Lingayat Chief Minister…. He is at the root of all corruption in the state.”

The saffron party latched on to it and launched a scathing attack by implying that Siddaramaiah has heaped insult on the entire Lingayat community. On Sunday, Revenue Minister R Ashok said that thlese comments by Siddaramaiah is the beginning of the end of the Congress in Karnataka. He said, “You (Siddaramaiah) were telling that Congress will win the elections, but these comments of yours have pulverised the chances of Congress winning the election.”

“The situation of the Congress in Karnataka is akin to Rahul Gandhi who had to vacate his (government) house, and the curse of the Lingayat people will be upon Siddaramaiah,” he said.In reply, Siddaramaiah lashed out at the BJP for twisting his comments and clarified that he was particularly referring to Bommai, not the entire Lingayat community.

He said: “My comments referred only to Bommai. I only said Basavaraj Bommai alone is corrupt. I did not say Lingayats are corrupt. Therefore, making such a sweeping report is inappropriate.”

“There have been very honest Lingayat chief ministers. There was S Nijalingappa, Virendra Patil and others for whom I have a lot of respect as they were very honest chief ministers. My comments have been twisted and misinterpreted by the BJP,” he said. Yesterday, the Karnataka BJP tweeted: “It is unforgivable that the person who once tried to divide the community is now implying that the community is corrupt.”(UNI)