Controversy
“Our country faces grave danger from intellectuals and seculars, more than anyone else,” Basanagouda Patil Yatnal said.

Basanagouda Patil Yatnal, a BJP leader from Vijayapura, has courted fresh controversy after claiming that he would have intellectuals shot if he was Home Minister.

Speaking at a public event on "Kargil Vijay Diwas" in Vijayapura, he said, "These people (intellectuals) live in this country, breathe our air, drink our water and use all the facilities for which we pay tax. Then they raise slogans against the Indian Army. Our country faces grave danger from intellectuals and seculars, more than anyone else. If someone like me became Home Minister, I would order to shoot them," to applause from the crowd.

During the speech, Basanagouda dubbed intellectuals as anti-nationals, and questioned their wisdom for raising allegations against the Indian Army.

Both Congress and JD(S) have asked for action to be taken against Yatnal.

This is not the first time that Basanagouda is attracting controversy for his brazen statements. A video of him in which he appears to urge elected representatives like corporators to "work for Hindus and not for Muslims", emerged last month.

He defended his statements in the video by asking reporters whether it was wrong to speak in favour of Hindus.

Basanagouda was the Minister of State, Textiles, and Minister of State, Railways, in the Vajpayee government. He was a BJP MLA from 1994 to 1999, and then an MP from 1999 to 2009 in the erstwhile Bijapur constituency.

He switched to the JD(S) in 2010 and returned to the BJP earlier this year ahead of the state Assembly elections. He contested and won the election to the Legislative Council as an Independent in 2015 and was elected as the MLA of Vijayapura City in the state Assembly elections held on May 15 this year as part of the BJP.