Controversial statements of 2023       

“I will get the portrait of Veer Savarkar removed from the Assembly Hall in Suvarna Vidhana Soudha immediately if I am allowed to do so," said Priyank Kharge.
Rural Development and Panchayat Raj, and IT-BT Minister Priyank Kharge. (File photo)
Rural Development and Panchayat Raj, and IT-BT Minister Priyank Kharge. (File photo)

Zameer Ahmed Khan, Housing, Waqf & Minority Welfare Minister:

Never in the history of Karnataka, a Muslim was made speaker of the Legislative Assembly. UT Khader has been made speaker of the house. Now, all senior BJP leaders in the house have to say ‘Namaskara Sir’ (bowing before the speaker). All this was possible because of the Congress…”

The impact: This statement made by the minister on November 17, 2023, created a huge uproar with the BJP leaders red-flagging the communal taint given by Zameer Ahmed Khan. However, Khan’s office played it down stating that the minister was merely pointing out that Congress had chosen the first Muslim as a Speaker and had given him an “opportunity to rise to such a top post”.

Shivanand Patil, APMC Minister:

“Krishna river water is free, current is also free. The Chief Minister also gave seeds and fertilizer. Farmers will only wish that there would be repeated droughts because their loans will be waived off.” 

Impact: This insensitive comment by the minister on Dece,ber 25, 2023, led to the statement going viral with a lot of angry reaction, with the BJP and the opposition calling it an “affront” to the farming community. The opposition demanded Patil’s resignation especially considering the same minister saying earlier in September that farmer suicides had risen after compensation amounts being raised from Rs 2 lakh to Rs 5 lakh.

Chief Minister Siddaramiah:

“No (restrictions). You can wear a Hijab. I have instructed (the officials) that there will be no restriction from tomorrow onwards….”

Impact: CM Siddaramaiah said this at a programme in Nanjangud in Mysuru district on December 22 after reporters asked him about the status of the Hijab issue as the Congress had during its poll campaign assured that the BJP-ruled government’s hijab ban order would be withdrawn if they came to power.  However, the issue took a major twist when the very next day the CM retracted, saying he had not issued any such instructions and the issue was still under discussions. The BJP leaders had raised a hue and cry over Siddaramaiah’s statement to the media.

G Parameshwara, Karnataka Home Minister:

“It still remains a question, when did the Hindu religion take birth and who gave birth to it.”
 
Impact: The home minister said this on September 5, 2023, while taking part in the Teachers’ Day function organised in his home constituency Koratagere in Tumakuru. Parameshwara’s statement snowballed into a controversy as the video of his speech went viral on social media. BJP leaders attacked the minister for his statement and demanded his apology as they alleged that it hurt the sentiments of the Hindus.

Priyank Kharge, Karnataka IT/BT and RDPR Minister:

“I will get the portrait of Veer Savarkar removed from the Assembly Hall in Suvarna Vidhana Soudha immediately if I am allowed to do so. “

Impact: Kharge said this on December 7, 2023, while speaking to the media three days after the winter legislative session commenced in Belagavi’s Suvarna Vidhana Soudha. Considering how revered Veer Savarkar is to the BJP and the RSS, it caused a stir among the rank and file of the saffron party. However, Congress leader and Speaker UT Khader diffused the situation by pointing ouot that the portrait would remain and the hose must focus on more serious.

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