Basangouda Patil Yatnal later defended his words at a press conference, asking if it is “wrong to speak in favour of Hindus?”

Video of Ktaka BJP MLA urging leaders to work for Hindus not for Muslims sparks row
news Controversy Thursday, June 07, 2018 - 17:08

Basangouda Patil Yatnal, the BJP MLA from Bijapur City, has stirred controversy on Thursday with a video of his emerging in which he appears to urge elected representatives like corporators to "work for Hindus and not for Muslims".

In a press conference later in the day, he defended his statement and asked if it is “wrong to speak in favour of Hindus?”

The video, most probably recorded in a cell phone, shows the former Union Minister of State speaking at a private event, and the stage he’s on has a poster of Shivaji at the back. 

"Muslims have started this new thing of first saying Jai Bheem and then As-salamu-alaykum. They send messages on WhatsApp asking Muslims to not buy items from Hindu shops because Hindus support Bajrang Dal and Shiv Sena by taking that money. But then how does he remember Jai Bheem? Dalits are downtrodden people. By taking their name they want to divide the society with a Dalit-Muslim combination," he is heard saying, drawing applause from the crowd.  

He further stated that elected  representatives like corporators should work for Hindus. "I called corporators and told them you should work in favour of Hindus and not Muslims,” he said to raucous cheers from the crowd.

He continued by adding that he had asked not to allow Muslims in his office. "Because, who voted for me in Bijapur?” To this, the crowd is heard saying “Hindus”.

“I had said no to Muslims before itself. I had told my people that those who wear burqas and skullcaps should not come to my office," he further added.

However, it is unclear how old the video is. It is speculated that it could have been shot on Shivaji Jayanti, in February this year.

The video, which went viral on social media, drew strong criticism. In a meeting with reporters on Thursday, things became heated when he was questioned by the media.

"There was a Shivaji programme and I had said that our people suffered injustice and I have said that action must be taken regarding it. In this country, is it wrong to speak in favour of Hindus? Is satisfying minorities enough for you?" a visibly angry Yatnal asked.  

He also claimed that Muslims did not vote for him even when he was in the JD(S). "Have Muslims voted for me? Even when I was with JDS? Why are you speaking in favour of them?" he further questioned.

Yatnal was the Minister of State, Textiles, and Minister of State, Railways, in the third Vajpayee government.

However, he joined the JD(S) in 2010 and later returned to the BJP earlier this year amid  much fanfare. He contested and won the elections to the Legislative Council as an Independent in 2015 and was elected  as the MLA of Bijapur City in the state Assembly elections held on May 15.

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