As Hindutva ideologue VD Savarkar’s portrait was undraped and displayed in the Karnataka Assembly hall by the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP), the Opposition staged protests on the opening day of Winter Session on Monday.
LoP Siddaramaiah sat outside the assembly to mark their protest and wrote to Speaker to install portraits of personalities like Valmiki, Basavanna, Kanaka Dasa, BR Ambedkar, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and many others.
“There is no need for the portrait. Savarkar was a controversial personality. Those who want his portrait want peace for their soul…,” Siddaramaiah told reporters.
He said, “Savarkar was among those in the Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination case. He is a controversial figure. We have to see. We have not been invited for discussion for now.” Congress State president D K Shivakumar said he is also not aware of any such development.
Siddaramaiah also said that the decision was unilateral and done without the consultation of all members.
Belagavi | VD Savarkar’s portrait unveiled in Karnataka Assembly hall. Congress MLAs have staged a protest with LoP Siddaramaiah writing to Speaker to install portraits of personalities like Valmiki, Basavanna, Kanaka Dasa, BR Ambedkar, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and many others. pic.twitter.com/Esgdl8bdgP— ANI (@ANI) December 19, 2022
Union Minister Pralhad Joshi has defended the move, saying Congress is doing appeasement politics. “They keep talking about their role in the freedom struggle and their sacrifices but that Congress & this Congress are not the same, what we have now is duplicate Congress," Joshi said.
“There must be ideological differences but Savarkar is a freedom fighter, then ask Siddaramaiah, whose poster must be put, of Dawood Ibrahim," Joshi added, ANI reported.
This is not the first time Savarkar has been at the centre of a controversy in Karnataka. In August this year, a Savarkar vs Tipu poster war that began on Independence Day in Karnataka’s Shivamogga that has now snowballed into a major political faceoff between the BJP and the Congress.
Before this, tensions were running high in Karnataka after a Savarkar flex was torn down in Karnataka’s Tumkur district by a few unidentified men that led to clashes. Two people were reported stabbed amid the clashes forcing the Karnataka government to impose section 144 in Shivamogga and in Bhadravathi. Four people were identified as the accused by the Karnataka police and were arrested a day later.
This is coming at the backdrop of the escalating Maharashtra Karnataka border row which is likely to be touched in both state assemblies.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah had last week chaired a meeting with the delegation from both the states and appealed to establish peace in the disputed border areas, but nothing seems to have changed on the ground.
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