Security personnel and some dignitaries on the stage including Health Minister K Sudhakar intervened and separated the two.

DK Suresh and Ashwath Narayan facing each other off at the event
news Politics Monday, January 03, 2022 - 20:37

Karnataka Information Technology and Biotechnology Minister CN Ashwath Narayan and Bangalore Rural MP DK Suresh nearly came to blows at an event on Monday, January 3. While Ashwath Narayan belongs to the BJP, DK Suresh belongs to the Congress. The event was organised in Ramanagara district to unveil statues of Dr BR Ambedkar and Kempegowda and several VIPs including Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai and Health Minister K Sudhakar were present.  Ramanagara district is the turf of DK Suresh and his brother DK Shivakumar, and DK Suresh is the sole Congress MP from the region.

In what seemed like a veiled attack on Congress leaders, Narayan made an aggressive speech targeting opponents. DK Suresh was incensed after a man in the audience screamed out a derogatory comment in what was believed to be alluding to him during Ashwath Narayan’s speech.

Ashwath claimed that the present BJP government was here to win the trust of the people and not to betray them, and challenged others to prove their work, as he attacked those who allegedly tried to disturb the event by raising certain slogans.

It began when someone in the audience shouted a slogan during Ashwath Narayan’s speech. Ashwath Narayan is then seen speaking to the audience and saying, “When the Chief Minister has come to our district, is it right to tarnish our district’s reputation by shouting slogans?”

To this, someone in the audience is heard saying “yes!”. To this Ashwath Narayan furiously responds saying, “If you are a man, show it in your work! Is it just gathering here in the event with 4-5 people and causing disturbance. Slap your thigh and tell me what work you have done. We will say what we have done.” He further proceeds to say, “We have not come to cheat this district, we have not come to get votes, we have come to serve you. (There are some who want) power their entire life. What is power for? It is for people. A leader is one who works for people.”

Following this, he proceeds to ask the crowd, “What is a person who works for himself called?” alluding to Suresh.

As a response to this, someone in the audience is heard saying a derogatory word and Narayan is seen seemingly acknowledging it with a gesture. He again continues to speak with someone on the stage contradicting him.

As he is speaking CM Bommai is seen gesturing to Narayan to stop his speech but Narayan continues. Moments later, DK Suresh gets up and starts walking to Narayan. 

Security personnel and some dignitaries on the stage including Health Minister K Sudhakar intervened and separated the two.

Suresh, the younger brother of state Congress chief D K Shivakumar, was joined by Congress MLC S Ravi, who tried to snatch the mike that was used by Narayan, resulting in a melee, as the Minister forcefully grabbed the mike back from him.

Suresh and other Congress leaders subsequently sat down on the stage in protest. After the fight was broken up, Suresh Kumar is seen sitting on the floor of the stage in front of Bommai as a protest.

Amid the protest, Bommai, addressing the gathering, said individual egos should not come in the way of respecting icons like Ambedkar and Kempegowda.

Pointing out that he has come to Ramanagara for the first time as CM, he said, "I have come here to contribute to development. The development will happen with everybody's cooperation and not by one individual....let's all work together for development...."

Suresh, who spoke later, said he would only apologize to the Chief Minister for what happened and not to anyone else, and attacked Narayan in his speech.

"Are you challenging us on the stage? fix the time....what culture is this? Did RSS teach this?.....Don't talk about our culture, we have culture. Mr Ashwath Narayan, we need not learn from you," he said. As Suresh referred to RSS, BJP supporters among the audience objected to it.

Later, after the event, Congress workers tore up Narayan's posters as a mark of protest.

Bommai, later speaking to reporters, termed the incident as unfortunate and said it will in no way affect his government's commitment for the development of Ramanagara district.

"We should all work together for development....there is no need to create an atmosphere of election, much before the election," he said.

Stating that the incident is the best example to prove that Congress culture is "goonda culture", state BJP in a tweet, condemning it, said "it is ironic that an MP doesn't have the basic sense as to how to behave on the stage, where the Chief Minister is present."

Several BJP leaders including its state President Nalin Kumar Kateel and Narayan's cabinet colleagues condemned Suresh's conduct.

Meanwhile, jumping to his brother Suresh's defence, Congress President D K Shivakumar questioned Ashwath Narayan's relationship with Ramanagara. "What has he or BJP done for the district? It is sheer arrogance on part of the Minister."

Congress and JD(S) are major players in Vokkaliga dominated Ramanagara district, where BJP is attempting to make inroads.

Narayan, a Vokkaliga himself, who was earlier the in-charge Minister of Ramanagara, is at the forefront of BJP's attempts to make inroads into the district by taking on the 'DK brothers' (Shivakumar and Suresh), and today's incident is seen as a sequel to those efforts.

JD(S) leader H D Kumaraswamy and his wife Anita Kumaraswamy are also MLAs from the district.

With inputs from PTI