BENGALURU: Union Minister for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Anantkumar Hegde has stirred yet another controversy, this time with his comments on Kannada language. The minister said only those from Dakshina Kannada, Uttara Kannada and Shivamogga speak chaste Kannada. The others, he said, were not speaking Kannada at all.
“Even Bengaluru and Mysuru people do not know how to speak proper Kannada,” Hegde said.
The minister was speaking at a programme organised at a polytechnic college in Puttur, Dakshina Kannada district.Hegde’s statement has landed the leader and BJP in trouble as it has drawn strong condemnation from both Congress and JD(S), which have termed it ‘stupid’. Many pro-Kannada organisations have threatened to launch a protest demanding an apology.
Hegde’s statement has invited rebuke from his own party leaders as well. BJP MLA and spokesman Suresh Kumar has conveyed his strong displeasure and demanded that the minister withdraw his comments.Suresh Kumar, in a statement on Sunday, said, “The comments made by minister Hegde have hurt all Kannadigas, including me. The accent and flavour of the language varies from place to place — from Bidar to Chamarajanagar. It has its own local richness. It is not right to categorise Kannada spoken in any particular region as the best or deride Kannada spoken in some other part of the state.”
He insisted that Hegde withdraw his comments and assuage the hurt feelings of Kannadigas.
According to sources, many state BJP leaders have urged the BJP national leadership to take action against Hegde or discipline him as his frequent “controversial statements” have been causing huge damage to the party in the run up to the Assembly election in the state.
Hegde, in December, had kicked up a controversy by mocking “secularists”, saying they were unaware of their parentage. Urging people to identify with their religion or caste, Hegde had said, “I will bow to you you are aware of your blood. But if you claim to be secular, there arises a doubt about who you are.”
Hegde had also put BJP in trouble by saying the BJP would “change the Constitution in the days to come”.
Later, after receiving a lot of flak from Opposition parties, Hegde tendered an apology in the Lok Sabha.