MADIKERI: Congress Legislature Party leader and former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah faced stiff resistance from BJP workers during his visit to Kodagu on Thursday, during his visit to flood-affected areas.
When his convoy reached Thithimathi check-post, BJP workers showed black flags and waved portraits of Hindu ideologue VD Savarkar, to express their displeasure over the Congress stand on the issue. They shouted ‘Go Back, Siddaramaiah!’ slogans, and threw a picture of Savarkar at him through the vehicle window.
Darshan, a protester, said Siddaramaiah had introduced Tipu Jayanti when he was the chief minister, hurting the sentiments of Kodavas. Tipu was a tyrant, he said, who had massacred many Kodavas during his regime. “Tipu Jayanti has led to the killings of many innocent people and disturbed peace in Kodagu,” he alleged.
Later, Siddaramaiah had to face a similar protest in Madikeri. BJP and Congress workers came face-to-face at the toll gate, and even threw eggs at each other. BJP workers shouted slogans, calling Siddaramaiah ‘anti-Hindu’ and ‘anti-Kodava’, resulting in tension in the area for an hour. Siddaramaiah left the spot after police intervened and brought the situation under control.
When returning from Kodagu, protesters blocked his vehicle near Guddehosuru in Kushalnagar, and shouted slogans, Police resorted to lathicharge to disperse of the protesters. A police wireless also was misplaced during the clash. SP Aiyappa spoke to leaders of both parties to normalise the situation. A few journalists and protestors suffered minor injuries during the lathi charge. Siddaramaiah later visited district Congress leader Chandrakala at her residence in Kushalnagar, following which he alleged that police have connived with the BJP workers, resulting in the situation.
Muthalik joins issue
Sriram Sena leader Pramod Muthalik joined issue over putting up a flex of Savarkar in Muslim areas, saying they will put up Savarkar’s pictures in Ganesha mantaps. It may be recalled that BJP National General Secretary CT Ravi and former DyCM K S Eshwarappa had on Wednesday reacted angrily to former CM Siddaramaiah’s statement that they should not put up a photograph of Savarkar in Muslim-dominated areas. Shivamogga, Chikkamagaluru and coastal Udupi and Dakshina Kannada form the most communally sensitive region in the state.
Meanwhile, Siddaramaiah, who was attacked with eggs in Kodagu, was warned that there would be challenges in Kodagu where the sentiment has not exactly been pro-Congress since the time of Tipu Jayanti. Congress spokesman Srikant Murthy told TNIE, “We had some information that the RSS would target Siddaramaiah during his Kodagu visit. They will try to target Siddaramaiah, more so after the success of the Davanagere function.”