The leaders were protesting against Anantkumar Hegde’s controversial statements on secularism and constitution and demanded his expulsion.

BJP Dalit leaders stall Amit Shahs Mysuru speech ask for Hegdes expulsion
news Karnataka 2018 Friday, March 30, 2018 - 19:37

Ahead of Karnataka’s assembly election next month, the controversial statements about secularism and changing the constitution to make it non-secular, made by Minister of State for Skill Development, Anantkumar Hegde back in December 2017, seems to have returned to haunt the BJP during its campaigns.

During BJP president Amit Shah’s visit to Mysuru on Thursday, a group of Dalits leaders of the BJP sloganeered against Hedge’s statements.  

Shah was to have an interaction at the Rajendra Kalamandira in Mysuru, when the BJP Dalit leaders started chanting slogans and disrupted the event. 

Former MP M Shivanna and former minister V Srinivas Prasad were part of the contingent of Dalit leaders who were forcefully removed from the event. They were demanding the expulsion of Hegde from the party.

In December 2017, Anantkumar Hegde had said that “a new tradition was in vogue", where people projected themselves as secular. He said he would welcome it if someone “claims with pride that he is a Muslim, or a Christian, or a Lingayat, or a Brahmin, or a Hindu.”

Hegde also went on to say that the Constitution could also be changed.  “I respect the Constitution, but the Constitution has changed according to the times on many occasions in the past and it will change in the future. We are here to change the Constitution,” he had said. 

His comments created a furore in the Parliament in December 2017, and the minister was forced to tender an apology in the Lok Sabha.

Following the protesting in Mysuru, Congress upped the ante on the BJP and questioned why the BJP was yet to take any action against Hegde for his comments.

The Minister of State for skill development is no stranger to controversy. In an earlier speech at Kundapur in November, the BJP leader had sarcastically suggested that the Congress government will soon start celebrating terrorists like Ajmal Kasab and Osama Bin Laden. “Today, they will celebrate Tipu Jayanti, then Hyder Ali, then Afzal Guru, Ajmal Kasab and Bin Laden,” he had said on November 13.

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