The ruling BJP has sought a public apology from Leader of the Opposition Siddaramaiah for his reported remarks that Dalits have supported the BJP for ensuring their own livelihoods. The former Chief Minister has hit back, arguing that his statements were being deliberately misrepresented.
Describing this as an “insult to Dalits”, the BJP SC Morcha held a protest in Bengaluru on Wednesday. Participating in the protest, BJP leaders, including MLA P. Rajiv, demanded that Mr. Siddaramaiah tender an apology to Dalits for such an “insensitive” statement. Similar protests were held elsewhere in the State too.
Responding to the protests, Mr. Siddaramaiah said he had made the statement in a Madiga Dandora meeting at Sindgi and was criticising MLAs and MPs who were with the BJP despite knowing that the party “did not respect either the Constitution or Babasaheb Ambedkar”. He sought to know why there were no protests then and why it was being picked out now.
KPCC president D.K. Shivakumar said it was the Congress Government led by Mr. Siddaramaiah that had implemented the Karnataka Scheduled Castes Sub-Plan and Tribal Sub-Plan (Planning, Allocation and Utilisation of Financial Resources) Act for spending 24.1% of its total budget on SC/ST welfare.
Meanwhile, in Raichur, enraged for being prevented from burning an effigy of Mr. Siddaramaiah during a protest, BJP leader and former MLA A. Papareddy slapped a police constable who was in plain clothes. A video clip of Mr. Papareddy arguing with the constable, Raghavendra, attached to Raichur West police station and slapping him went viral.
Mr. Papareddy claimed he did not know the man he slapped was a policeman. An FIR has been registered against five people, including the former MLA, in connection with the incident.