BJP National President Amit Shah's comment calling Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah an 'Ahindu' (anti-Hindu) leader has angered the Congress government.
The Congress has written to the Election Commission of India, flagging Amit Shah for his comments on Chief Minister Siddaramaiah.
"I have made five to six visits to Karnataka and after meeting people I have been able to understand the feeling of Karnataka. The feeling of the people of Karnataka is that he (Siddaramaiah) is not an AHINDA leader, but an Ahindu (anti-Hindu) leader," Shah said on Tuesday while addressing the media in Davangere.
AHINDA is a Kannada acronym for minorities, backward classes and dalits.
"On one hand, the Congress President speaks about uniting Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians. On the other hand, in Karnataka, its own Chief Minister is speaking about dividing Hindus. I have not seen such a sharp difference within a political party," Shah added.
A Congress spokesperson said that this violates the Election Commission’s Model Code of Conduct, which kicked in after the dates of the Assembly election was announced.
"We have written to the Election Commission to look into comments made by Amit Shah specifically on religion, as it is against election rules. The Code of Conduct kicked in with yesterday's announcement and this violates the rules," said Radhakrishnan, a Congress spokesperson.
The Congress has written to the Election Commission and Karnataka's Chief Electoral Officer, which states that his comments violate Section 123(A) ( promotion of, or attempt to promote, feelings of enmity or hatred) and 125 (promoting enmity between classes in connection with election) of the Representation of People's Act, 1950-51.
Shah’s comment came during one of his many rallies in the state. The BJP has been actively working to woo voters in the state ahead of the Assembly elections, scheduled for May 12.
Shah's comments came on the heels of a blistering attack on Siddaramaiah over the state government's decision to accord minority rights and recommend separate religion status to the Lingayat community. The BJP has questioned the timing of the decision, as it came right before the state’s assembly elections, and has called the decision an example of 'divisive politics'.