BENGALURU: Senior Karnataka Congress leader Siddaramaiah has stoked a row with an objectionable remark apparently directed at the Janata Dal (Secular), his party's ally in the previous coalition government, though he later claimed that he had only used a common Kannada adage and referred to the BJP.
At Periapatna in Mysuru on Friday evening, when reporters asked him why the JD(S) leaders were blaming him for the collapse of the Congress-JD(S) coalition government, Siddaramaiah used the Kannada adage that literally translates to "Incapable of dancing, a prostitute called the dance floor uneven".
The remark left the JD(S) fuming, with its national general secretary and spokesperson Ramesh Babu saying it reflects Siddaramaiah's frustration.
The BJP too condemned Siddaramaiah's remark, saying it reflected his party's culture.
As the matter escalated into a full-blown controversy, Siddaramaiah on Saturday said he was referring to the Bharatiya Janata Party, adding that the Kannada adage he used was very common among people.
"Being a former chief minister, the language he uses is highly improper and very low level. That is the culture of Siddaramaiah and his party," BJP spokesperson S Prakash said.
On Saturday, Siddaramaiah told reporters at Dharmasthala in Dakshina Kannada district: "I was referring to the BJP. It is a very common adage in the rural areas around Mysuru. Those who cannot run the government call the floor uneven."
Hitting out at him, Babu said, "Siddaramaiah's statement in Mysuru reflects on his conduct. If a leader loses control over his language, it shows his frustration."
"JD(S) is like paradise for those who love it. It doesn't affect it if someone makes a hue and cry against it. It is fact that during the coalition government both Congress and the JD(S) had danced together," he tweeted.
The Congress-JD(S) government collapsed on July 22 after the confidence motion moved by the then-Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy was defeated in the Assembly, bringing to an end his 14-month-long turbulent tenure marked by dissidence within the Congress.
Siddaramaiah had come under criticism after the government collapsed as most of the rebel Congress MLAs, including S T Somashekar, Byrathi Basavaraj, M T B Nagaraj, Munirathna and K Sudhakar, were considered his loyalists.
However, rubbishing claims that he instigated those MLAs to resign and destabilise the government, Siddaramaiah had alleged that the unilateral style of functioning of the JD(S) leadership led to the collapse of the government.
Days after a verbal duel with JD(S) supremo H D Deve Gowda and his son H D Kumaraswamy, who had led the coalition government, Siddaramaiah had recently said that the BJP was their opponent, and not the JD(S).
"We are the principal opposition party. Our opponent is the communal BJP and not the JD(S). We have no grudge against the JD(S) leaders", he had said.
"For secular forces, the communal forces are their rivals and not the other secular force," Siddaramaiah added.