March 3, 2020 2:49:50 am
A demand for expulsion of a BJP leader, who recently called a 102-year-old freedom fighter in Karnataka “a fake’’ and a “Pakistani agent,’’ disrupted proceedings of Karnataka Assembly on Monday, with Opposition Congress labelling ruling party MLA Basavaraj Yatnal’s remarks an insult to the freedom movement itself.
Congress MLAs staged a protest in the Well of the House through the day, demanding a discussion on “derogatory” remarks by Yatnal, even as the MLA and the BJP remained defiant.
While Yatna refused to apologise, reiterating that the veteran is a “fake freedom fighter”, BJP leaders backed their party MLA. Education Minister Suresh Kumar has said that Yatnal’s remarks was a consequence of H S Doreswamy’s criticism of Prime Minister Modi
Yatnal, who is known to often makes incendiary statements, labelled freedom fighter Doreswamy a “fake freedom fighter’’ and an agent of Pakistan over the 102-year-old’s frequent criticism of the BJP and its policies, as well as his recent participation in rallies against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA).
On Monday, when proceedings of the Budget Session began in Karnataka Assembly, Congress MLAs demanded a discussion on Yatnal’s remarks, as well as an apology from Yatnal and his expulsion from the Assembly. “It is not an insult to veteran Doreswamy alone but also to the entire freedom struggle,’’ Congress leader Siddaramaiah said while seeking action against the BJP legislator.
Speaker Vishweshwar Kaggeri initially opposed the demand for a debate on Yatnal’s remarks but later conceded to a discussion on the grounds that a notice be given to the Speaker seeking a discussion on the MLA’s insults against the freedom fighter.
Yatnal said: “I will not apologise to anyone. I stand by my words. I respect freedom fighters but not fake freedom fighters. Let them show where he has fought for freedom, how much punishment he suffered at the hands of the British.”
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