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Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Karnataka minister: BJP is strong, workers told to hit back if touched

Reacting to his remarks, Congress and SDPI leaders have called for his resignation. State Congress working president Saleem Ahmed said Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai should sack him immediately.

By: Express News Service | Bengaluru |
August 9, 2021 2:43:40 am
'No question of fielding a Muslim': Karnataka minister on Belagavi Lok Sabha bypollK S Eshwarappa (File photo)

IN A provocative statement, senior BJP leader and a minister in the Karnataka government, K S Eshwarappa, said on Sunday that if a “BJP worker is touched”, the “instruction is to hit back with the same stick” and to “take away two, if even one is taken”.

Speaking at a meeting of party workers in Shimoga, Eshwarappa, state minister for rural development and panchayat raj, said the BJP has “become very strong” and its workers are now capable of giving back in equal measure when provoked or attacked by rivals.

“In the past, they would murder our activists. Those days, our elders in the Sangh would say stay calm at all costs. We had to be calm, irrespective of the situation and how much we were attacked. We did not have the strength,” he said.

“Today, the BJP has grown the world over, and if a BJP worker is touched anywhere in any corner, the instruction is to hit back with the same stick. In the past, the decision was to stay calm at all costs. Now, the decision is to take away two, if even one is taken. We have become very strong. Nobody will come to trouble us,” Eshwarappa said.

Reacting to his remarks, Congress and SDPI leaders have called for his resignation. State Congress working president Saleem Ahmed said Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai should sack him immediately.

“Eshwarappa is not worthy of being an MLA, let alone a minister, on account of his provocative statements. The Speaker must expel him from the Legislature, the CM must drop him from the Cabinet, and the Governor should intervene and ensure peace and stability in the state,” said SDPI spokesperson Afsar Kodipet.

Eshwarappa, a veteran BJP leader who helped build the party in Karnataka along with former CM B S Yediyurappa, is known to frequently make provocative statements on communal lines.

A few days ago, he said the BJP would have a “nationalist leader” as the CM the next time it comes to power since compromises had to be made this time to accommodate many newcomers in the party.

The statement was an oblique reference to the fact that Bommai is not an original member of the Sangh Parivar or the BJP, but shifted from the JD(U) in 2008.

While Eshwarappa did not make provocative statements when Yediyurappa was CM, there is apprehension that BJP may use such remarks by key leaders in the new regime under Bommai to stir up sentiments in the run-up to the 2023 Assembly polls.

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