UNION MINISTER of State for Skill Development Ananth Kumar Hegde, who had urged Hindu youths to target those from other communities who elope with Hindu girls, clashed with Karnataka Congress chief Dinesh Gundu Rao on social media Monday over the latter’s marriage to a Muslim.
Responding to Rao, who questioned his credentials as a minister and MP after he called to remove the hand that “has touched a Hindu girl”, Hegde posted on his Twitter handle: “I shall definitely answer this guy @dineshgrao’s queries, before which could he please reveal himself as to who he is along with his achievements? I only know him as a guy who ran
behind a Muslim lady.”
Rao hit back on Twitter: “Sad to see @AnantkumarH stoop to such low levels as to bring in personal issues. Guess it’s his lack of culture.
Guess he hasn’t learnt from our Hindu scriptures. Time hasn’t run out, he can still try and become a more dignified human.”
He also retweeted a post on Hegde by Congress chief Rahul Gandhi: “This man is an embarrassment to every Indian. He’s unfit to be a Union Minister and deserves to be sacked.”
Hegde’s remarks triggered a response from Rao’s wife, Tabu, too: “It appears I am a soft target for BJP leaders who are unable to politically take on my husband… I am a private person. A mother of two girls and a devout housewife.”
“Yes. I was born a Muslim but we are proud Indians first,’’ she said, while calling for the BJP to refrain from “using” her “as a pawn in their cheap politics”.
On Sunday, reacting to Hegde’s call on those who elope with Hindu girls, Rao had said: “All I can say for sure — it’s deplorable that such people have become ministers and have managed to get elected as MPs.”
Hegde had said that “if a hand has touched a Hindu girl then that hand must not exist’’. He was addressing a meeting in Kodagu of the Hindu Jagaran Vedike, a youth organisation of the VHP, which has been involved in incidents of moral policing in coastal districts of Karnataka.
The Union Minister, who is known for his communally charged remarks, also claimed that the Taj Mahal was originally a temple called Tejomahalaya and the Qutab Minar a Jain temple.
In December 2017, Hegde had triggered a furore by stating that those who call themselves secular and intellectual “don’t know their parentage”. He had also stated that the BJP would remove the word “secular” from the Constitution but later apologised in Parliament for the remark.