Union Minister Anantkumar Hegde has once again landed in hot water for his comments about a majority of people in Karnataka not knowing proper Kannada.
The minister apologised for his comments in a Facebook post after he was reportedly rapped by HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar, who is also the BJP in-charge for Karnataka.
Hegde had reportedly said that barring those in Shivamogga, Uttara Kannada and Dakshina Kannada districts, people from Karnataka do not know proper Kannada.
The minister was speaking at a programme organised at a polytechnic college in Puttur, Dakshina Kannada district.
Pro-Kannada leaders, including Patil Puttappa, and fellow BJP leader S Suresh Kumar took exception to Hegdeâ€™s words.
Reacting strongly to Hedgeâ€™s views, Suresh Kumar early on Sunday urged the minister to take back his statement, which he termed was unreasonable and insulting to the people of Karnataka.
â€śThe comments made by minister Hegde have hurt all Kannadigas, including me. The accent and flavour of the language varies from place to place â€“ from Bidar to Chamarajanagar. It has its own local richness. It is not right to categorise Kannada spoken in any particular region as the best or deride Kannada spoken in some other parts of the state,â€ť said Suresh Kumar in a statement.
Javadekar called Hegde to convey the BJPâ€™s displeasure over his remarks and asked him to clarify his statements to save the party from further embarrassment, as per a report in The Times of India.
â€śI noticed that the issue we discussed in Puttur yesterday is being unnecessarily discussed in many ways. What I said with respect and love for Kannada has been twisted and discussed in a hurtful way. Nonetheless, if people in Karnataka are hurt by this I have no qualms about apologising to them,â€ť Hegde said in a video posted on Facebook.
Hegde is no stranger to controversy and his latest apology comes weeks after he apologised in the Parliament for his comments over secularism and changing the Constitution.
In an earlier speech in the Parivartana Yatra in Kundapur, the BJP leader had sarcastically suggested that the Congress government will soon start celebrating terrorists like Ajmal Kasab and Osama Bin Laden. â€śToday, they will celebrate Tipu Jayanti, then Hyder Ali, then Afzal Guru, Ajmal Kasab and Bin Laden,â€ť he had said on November 13.