By Sahana Maddali
All you have to do is follow the hashtags #VenkayyaSakayya and #VenkayyaBekayya to be abreast with Karnataka's conflicting sentiments about Venkaiah Naidu's recruitment to the Rajya Sabha as the state representative.
Naidu, who is a 'non-Kannadiga', seems to have raised some strong sentiments among Kannadigas.
They argue that for Karnataka to be fairly represented in the Rajya Sabha, only Kannadigas should be selected.
It's high time we have to say NO outsiders and non Kannadigas for Rajya Sabha.#VenkayyaSakayyaâ€” Vishweshwar Bhat (@VishweshwarBhat) May 18, 2016
I had forgotten that for 18 years, we had a RS member from Karnataka called Venkaiah Naidu. No more swalpa adjust maadiâ€” SANJAY HEGDE (@sanjayuvacha) May 18, 2016
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has said that he agreed that only Kannadigas should be selected as Rajya Sabha representatives, and that he would deliver the public sentiment to the party high command.
However, public sentiment â€“ possibly driven by BJP and Congress workers and supporters â€“ seems to sway both ways. In response to the #VenkayyaSakayya [Venkaiah, enough] hashtag, on Thursday the #VenkayyaBekayya [Venkaiah, we want] hashtag was used a lot, usually outlining his service and success in Karnataka.
BJP spokesman CT Ravi has rubbished the position that only a Kannadiga should represent the state in the Rajya Sabha as an â€śemotionalâ€ť demand, and stuck to his stand.
â€śVenkaiah Naidu is one of the few leaders who can sit down and have a one-to-one conversation with the PM. There is no one else with this capacity, particularly in the Rajya Sabha,â€ť he said.
Asked how this was fair in a democracy that only people with privileged access should be given opportunities, Ravi said: â€śShould we select 'our' people, or people with better capacity? When we select people with capacity, we have made a good selection, like with Venkaiah Naidu. If we were to send one of ours, we could send anyone, but not anyone with better capacity.â€ť
Ravi maintained that the BJP was a national political party. â€śFor us, 'boundary' is the whole country's boundary. Regional political parties can think in regional terms. We think broadly. Venkaiah Naidu is one of our party's senior-most members. He was the national party president and also in charge of Karnataka state for many years. He has never taken a decision against Karnataka's interests. We work to protect state interests and national interests.â€ť
He said as the Urban Development Minister, any state would send him to the Rajya Sabha as its representative. â€śAs he has helped in all projects, at this point in time only if someone equivalent emerges can we consider [sending them to RS]. We must choose to think practically rahter than emotionally, this is my appeal,â€ť he added.