A senior BJP leader in Karnataka waded into a controversy on Saturday by making insensitive, personal remarks regarding the rape of a woman journalist from a local Kannada television channel.
Asked a question by the journalist on whether the opposition parties in Karnataka like the BJP had failed to effectively raise the issue of crimes in the state the former deputy chief minister and the leader of the opposition in the Karnataka legislative council K S Eshwarappa retorted by saying: “If you are dragged away and raped by someone what can the opposition do about that.”
The comment made on the sidelines of the funeral of a police sub inspector who was stabbed to death by two criminals in the Nelamangala Town on the outskirts of Bengaluru on Friday has resulted in a furore and has attracted condemnation from many quarters.
A group of journalists in Bengaluru submitted a memorandum to chief minister Siddaramaiah seeking action against Eshwarappa. “We condemn the derogative statement made by Eshwarappa to a lady journalist,” the Bangalore Reporters Guild said in a statement. The former deputy chief minister has claimed that his words were being twisted by local television channels and has refused to apologize for his remarks.
Eshwarappa is incidentally known to fly of the cuff at the smallest of provocation and has been involved in several foot in mouth episodes. “Eshwarappa is unfit to continue as the opposition leader in the legislative council. The BJP should retire him,” the president of the Karnataka Pradesh Mahila Congress Committee Lakshmi Hebbalkar said.
“Eshwarappa’s statement shows the culture of the BJP,” the Mahila Congress leader stated. Leader of the Janata Dal Secular party H D Kumaraswamy said elected representatives need to be careful and sensitive while making public statements.
“This kind of statement makes people lose their respect for elected representatives. It shows the crudeness of Eshwarappa,” Kumaraswamy said.