Karnataka Congress leader Siddaramaiah on Monday came in for criticism after he berated former Taluk Panchayat Vice President Jamalar after she complained that his son and local MLA Dr Yatheendra was inaccessible to the local administration and residents in his constituency
The former CM lost his cool at a public meeting and scolded the woman for raising her voice, even snatching away the microphone when she asked questions about development work in the region.
Jamalar said that she was meeting Siddaramaiah for the first time after last year's elections. The meeting was taking place in Varuna in Mysuru and she said that there was no one to hear them as the officers and revenue inspectors were making them run from pillar to post to even get a family tree changed. Jamalar was told by Siddaramaiah that she should have approached the local MLA when she shot back and said that the MLA was not accessible.
At this point, upset with her arguments Siddaramaiah took away her mike. A video of the incident shows an irate Siddaramaiah keeping the mike with him and asking the woman to sit down when she tried to continue her argument.
He can be seen staring at Jamalar and gesturing to her to sit down. He also rose and physically made her sit down. "Have we done injustice justice to you to behave in this fashion," asked Siddaramaiah.
He went on to say that it was not a Congress government in power but a coalition government and that the JD(S) had their officers posted. He added that his party would have addressed the issue if had been raised earlier. He went on to warn officers of disciplinary action if they failed in their duties. According to Jamalar, she insisted on the mike only so that officers could hear her plight and she could get it addressed.
"Although I apologized to Siddaramaiah, he was not in a mood to hear. I felt I have done a mistake by beating the table and taking a mike to address the issue," she said. "I would not have spoken if I had known that such a situation would arise. He has spoken to me with great faith and confidence in the past and has never been angry with me," she added.
Meanwhile, Opposition parties and others have demanded an apology from Siddaramaiah for his alleged unruly behaviour. Many took to social media to express their anger and even wanted action from Congress president Rahul Gandhi.
State Congress President Dinesh Gundu Rao defended Siddaramaiah saying, "Sometimes when people start asking questions in a rough way and after hearing them out when they don’t stop, you want to pull the mic. When pulling the mic, the dupatta came along. There was no such intention."
Union Minister Prakash Javadekar slammed Siddaramaiah for misbehaving with a woman. "Rahul Gandhi should tell what he'll do with him. This is a crime, the way he abused her. That's how they see women, they haven't changed since the tandoor case. They only respect women from one family," he said.
Earlier on Monday, amid talks of unrest between the Congress and the JD(S) coalition government in the state, Siddaramaiah clarified that there was no trouble with ally JD(S) and he would talk to Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy. Kumaraswamy had said that he was ready to step down following Congress MLAs reportedly saying that "Siddaramaiah is their leader".
(With inputs from online desk)