Making yet another controversial statement, Karnataka Minister for Rural Development and Panchayat Raj and former Deputy CM KS Eshwarappa on Saturday said that his party, the BJP, will field a candidate from any community but from the Muslim community. Eshwarappa was speaking with reporters in context of the Belagavi Lok Sabha byepolls which are due to be held with the recent demise of former Minister of State Railways Suresh Angadi, the multi-time winner of the seat.
“Whoever we might give it(ticket) to-- may be Kurubas, Lingayats, Vokkaligas or Bramins--but definitely not muslims. Today Belgaum is a center for Hindutva, there is no question of giving it to Muslims, we will give it to people of Hindutva. I don't know if we will give it to 'Rayanna Sri Kshetra' or 'Chanamma Sri Kshetra' or 'Shankaracharya Sri Kshetra' we will sit and discuss,” he told reporters on the question of the possible byepoll candidate.
However, this comment from Eshwarappa is not an isolated controversy he has stoked. In a very similar context ahead of the Lok Sabha polls in 2019, he had said the party won’t give tickets to Muslim candidates. He had then said, “We won't give tickets to Muslims in Karnataka. Why? Because you don't believe in us. Believe us and we'll see," when asked if Iqbal Ansar, a leader who had then recently jumped ship from the JD(S) to BJP was in the fray to get a ticket.
In another example of his provocative statements, ahead of the Karnataka Assembly Elections in 2018, he had alleged Muslims who are with Congress were “killers” while those with the BJP were “good Muslims”.
“Muslims who killed 22 RSS and BJP activists are with the Congress and those who are good Muslims are with the BJP," he had said.