Bengaluru, Mar 31: BJP national president Amit Shah on Saturday said that the Siddaramaiah government in Karnataka is the ATM of corruption for the Congress party. Addressing a press conference in Mysuru ahead of the Karnataka Assembly Elections 2018, Amit Shah said that the Congress-led Karnataka government stands for an abundance of corruption.

On being asked about Karnataka approving recommendation of separate religion for Lingayats, the BJP chief said,” This is a strategy to stop Yeddyurappa Ji from becoming the chief minister of Karnataka. The Siddaramaiah government wants to polarise the Lingayat votes but the community is aware of it. The BJP will make its stance clear after polls.” (Also Read: Amit Shah tells Siddaramaiah in his home turf that his “time” has come to end)

Distancing the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) from Union minister Anantkumar Hegde’s controversial comments about Dalits and change in the Indian Constitution against reservation for Dalits, Amit Shah said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s policies were pro-Dalits at the Centre and in the state. “I am making it clear that the BJP has nothing to do with Hegde’s statement,” he said. (Also Read: ‘Modi Would Damage The Nation’, Says Shah’s Kannada Translator)

Disappointed with Shah’s reply, protesters flayed him and sought removal of Hegde from the Cabinet. “You invited us for discussion. You say BJP doesn’t support Hegde’s statement. So why is he still in the Union Cabinet?” asked Dalit Sangharsha Samithi convener for Mysuru district, Chornalli Shivanna, The Economics Times reported.

Hegde had reportedly said, “We are here to change the Constitution and we’ll change it.” The minister had to tender an apology in the Lok Sabha after a nudge by the Speaker, but he said his speech at a function in Karnataka was ‘distorted’. He had also denied having made any anti-Dalit remarks.

Shah, who is in the state ahead of crucial May 12 assembly polls, is visiting Mysuru, Chamarajanagar, Mandya and Ramanagara which are considered as Vokkaliga heartland. Karnataka will go to polls on May 12, and the results will be declared on May 15. The 224-member Assembly expires on May 28 in the state where the Congress is currently in power, with 122 seats against the BJP’s 43.