Former Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Monday found himself in the midst of a row over his purported remarks about two dominant communities in the state in a video that has gone viral.
The comments were reportedly made during a private conversation with a few Congress leaders recently.
Siddaramaiah is purportedly heard saying Lingayats, a prominent community seen backing the BJP, were now distancing themselves from Lingayat strongman and Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa, and the Vokkaligas, another dominant community, disenchanted with the JD(S) and HD Kumaraswamy.
Yediyurappa and Kumaraswamy flayed Siddaramaiah, who is opposition leader in the state assembly, for his alleged comments.
“He is behaving like a dictator as if he is holding all the responsibilities. He believes that the people were with him. I am unable to comprehend why (such) statements are made,” Yediyurappa said.
The Chief Minister claimed Siddaramaiah has been trying to create confusion in the Congress.
He reminded him that people were closely noticing all his activities.
Sharing the video, the state BJP unit too slammed the Congress veteran for not rising above “caste-based politics.”
“India is progressing forward. Will the master of “Appeasement Politics” ever grow beyond Caste?” the party tweeted.
Retorting, Siddaramaiah said, “Casual private discussion at my residence is being misinterpreted by BJP leaders to derive sadistic pleasure. Illumination of truth shall always prevail over the darkness of lies. This will be my Deepavali message to my political rivals,” Siddaramaiah tweeted.
He said Ambedkar, Gandhiji, 12th-century social reformer Basaveshwara and noted Kannada poet Kuvempu were his inspiration for his commitment to social justice and his effort to dismantle caste structure.
“The statement in the video is, in fact, my expression of happiness that people see beyond the caste to decide their representatives. This is a sign of social progress and matured electorate.
What is wrong if I say that people are being secular?” Siddaramaiah sought to know.
Kumaraswamy also slammed Siddaramaiah for his comments in the video.
“Siddaramaiah is purely secular and we, who had supported him, are communal…,” Kumaraswamy sarcastically said.