BENGALURU: Senior Congress leader Siddaramaiah's statement asking "Why put Savarkar's photo in Muslim area?" has evoked sharp reaction from the ruling BJP, with its leaders terming it as "Jihadi mindset", and some even seeking to know whether such localities were part of Pakistan according to him.
The Leader of the Opposition in the state assembly on Tuesday, blaming the BJP for creating communal tension in the district headquarters town of Shivamogga on August 15, had raised questions about attempts by Hindu and BJP activists to install Savarkar's photo in a Muslim-dominated area.
"They tried to put Savarkar's photo in a Muslim area. Let them put up whatever photo, no problem. But, why do that in a Muslim area? And, why did they say no to Tipu Sultan's photo?" he asked.
Lashing out at Siddaramaiah, a former Chief Minister, state BJP leaders have accused him of indulging in 'Muslim appeasement' and even demanded his expulsion from Congress.
"What do you mean by Muslim Area? By periodically displaying a 'Jihadi mindset' you are proving to be more dangerous than the Jihadis who kill innocents," BJP National General Secretary C T Ravi said.
Challenging Siddaramaiah for a public debate on "Nationalist Veer Savarkar" and "Tyrant Tipu Sultan", he asked, "Dare to accept?" Further calling it a mindset that instigates forces that want to divide the country, Ravi said, "does Muslim area mean Pakistan? It's a dangerous mindset. Siddarmaiah has to withdraw his statement."
Revenue Minister R Ashoka asked whether Siddarmaiah is of a thinking that Muslim-residing areas of this country belongs to Pakistan.
"Siddaramaiah seems to be in a confusion, does Muslim residential areas belong to Pakistan? It is part of India. Savarkar fought for the freedom of this country and was in Andaman (&) Nicobar jail for about 12-14 years. Should we ask the local community and put photos of national icons?" he said, adding that Congress has no morality to preach about where to install Savarkar's photo.
Senior BJP leader K S Eshwarappa, hitting out at Siddaramaiah's remarks, said, "is that place his (Siddaramaiah) father's property? Whole of 'Bharatha' or Hindustan belongs to 'Bharateeyas'. There is nothing called Muslim-land in this country."
"There is not even an inch of land in this country that belongs to Muslims. Are they playing a game? can anyone say anything? Siddaramaiah is always in favour of Muslims and anti-nationals," he said, as he called the former CM's statement as anti-national and urged Congress president Sonia Gandhi to expel him from the party.
Home Araga Jnanendra said, such a statement from a senior leader like Siddaramaiah instigates certain communities.
"What is Muslim Area? Is Muslim area not part of this country? Is there a ban on erecting Savarkar's photo there?" he said, asking Siddarmaiah not to make such comments keeping elections in mind, as this is an election year.
State BJP Vice President B Y Vijayendra said as India celebrate 75 years of independence, it's an irony that the Congress still finds itself tied to the "shackles of slavery celebrating a tyrant and a mass murderer like Tipu Sultan, and has no place for freedom fighters like Veer Savarkar".
"What is the compulsion to issue statement that the photo of our proud freedom fighter Veer Savarkar can't be displayed at Muslim areas. Is Shivamogga, according to you, located in an Islamic nation or in India?" he asked.
"Appeasement politics has been the main root cause for all communal disturbances that we are witnessing", Vijayendra, the son of former CM B S Yediyurappa said, adding that "Your statements have not only instigated and encourage the communal forces to indulge in violence, but also to disrespect our nation and the great freedom fighters."