Karnataka: Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah today dubbed BJPs statewide yatra against his government as a “yatra of remorse” and said the saffron party cannot succeed in the state as its people are “politically mature”.
He also hit out at BJP national president Amit Shah and state president Yeddyurappa by pointing out that both of them had been to jail.
The chief minister also defended the state governments decision to celebrate the birth anniversary of 18th century Mysore ruler Tipu Sultan.
Siddaramaiahs reaction came after Shah kicked off the 75-day “Nava Karnataka Nirmana Parivarthane Yatra”, led by Yeddyurappa to “expose misdeeds” of the Congress government in the 224 assembly constituencies of the state.
Launching the yatra, Shah had accused the Karnataka government of breaking “all records” in corruption.
“The people of Karnataka are very mature, it is not like UP or any other state. In south India, our people are not emotional, they are politically mature and believe in secular principles…” Siddaramaiah told reporters.
Roots of secular principles are strong here, he said.
“Their (BJP) wish of doing something here cannot happen. Nothing will happen even if they bring Prime Minister or Shah or Adityanath. Polarisation of votes through Hindutva and instigation will not happen here,” the senior Congress leader said.
Defending his government, Siddaramaiah said, “There is no corruption or scandal…in fact (they) had gone to jail on corruption charges. How many of them had gone?..”
Listing out the BJP leaders who had gone to jail including Yeddyurappa, the chief minister asked, “Did they go to jail simply?…they have to go before the people and tell– we have gone to jail and come back, now we are coming in front of you (people).”
Siddaramaiah said people of Karnataka are satisfied by his governments programmes during the last five years and have decided to bless the Congress again.
“We will 100 per cent come back to power in 2018 Assembly elections. So any number of such yatras by them (BJP) will have no influence,” he said.
“I do not know who named it Parivarthane…it is not parivarthane, it is teertha yatra (pilgrimage)….it is yatre of remorse. It is they who have to change from being communal to secular,” he asserted.
The chief minister also chaired a meeting of senior police officials in the state after Neelamani N Raju took charge as first woman Director General of Police of Karnataka, and reviewed the law and order situation in the state.
“Law and order situation is good after we came to power. Our police officials have done their duty, but the BJP is repeatedly trying to disturb the communal harmony,” Siddaramaiah said.
“In the backdrop of Parivarthana Yatre and Tipu Jayanti, we have discussed things related to it also,” he said.
BJP and few other organisations have been opposing the Tipu Jayanti celebrations as they see Tipu Sultan as a “religious bigot” and a “brutal killer”.
Pointing out that this was the third year the government will be celebrating Tipu Jayanti, Siddaramaiah said last year it went off smoothly and only in the first year, there was violence due to “instigation” by RSS and Bajarang Dal.
“By and large Karnatkas people have accepted Tipu Jayanti. Tipu was a freedom lover, patriot. As claimed by them (RSS, BJP), he was never anti-Hindu or anti-Kannada or any other community,” he said.