Bengaluru: After the drunken brawl between Congress legislators at an upscale resort on the outskirts of Bengaluru, it’s now the turn of JDS MLA and tourism minister SR Mahesh to face the heat.
The minister has been accused of calling an IPS officer of the rank superintendent of police a “bloody lady”. However, the police officer has stated that it was a cooked-up story and nothing much had happened.
The incident allegedly occurred on Wednesday when another state minister and Lingasaguru MLA Venkatrao Nadagouda was stopped from entering the final resting place of the Siddaganga seer Shivakumar Swamiji at the Tumkuru mutt.
In a video of the incident, IPS officer Divya Gopinath was seen stopping the minister followed by what seemed to be an argument with Mahesh and finally allowing them to enter.
Seconds later, the officer was seen in tears, while Gubbi MLA SR Srinivas and another police officer were seen consoling her.
Later, Gopinath told reporters she was not aware that she was stopping a minister. “These things are quite common while handling the security of big events. There was space constraint. When the minister came, there was some confusion. When we got to know he's a minister, we let him in. I don’t know how it turned into a huge controversy when nothing as such happened here. S R Mahesh did not use any foul language,” Gopinath told News18 on Wednesday.
The opposition BJP, however, took to social media demanding Mahesh’s resignation for insulting the modesty of a woman officer.
The party’s Twitter handle wrote, “JDS MLA and Minister Sa. Ra. Mahesh abuses Tumakuru SP Divya. Calls the women police officer “Bloody Rascal”. Women officer was spotted crying. Officer had left her unwell kid and reported to work. This is what happens when a party of 38 MLA runs the state”.
BJP MP Shobha Karandlaje said “The minister has no right to use foul language while addressing a woman officer. I condemn this act of Mahesh. He should resign immediately on moral grounds.”
Defending his minister, chief minister HD Kumaraswamy said Mahesh did not do anything wrong and need not be sorry.
“District SPs should know who the cabinet ministers are. He had not used any unparliamentary language and doesn’t need to apologise,” Kumaraswamy said.
Mahesh told reporters in Bengaluru he did nothing wrong. “I don’t need to apologise as I have not committed any mistake. The SP did not allow minister Nadagouda to pay his tribute to the Siddaganga seer. Police gave entry to many unknown people, but stopped a cabinet minister. The people have voted me to power and the chief minister has given me a cabinet portfolio. I do not need to listen to the BJP and resign. When an officer commits mistake, I have all the rights to rectify the error.”
(With inputs from Revathy Rajeevan)