In election-bound Karnataka, Deputy Chief Minister KS Eshwarappa has now
landed in a spot for making an allegedly provocative speech. The
Election Commission has issued a notice to the BJP leader on the matter
and has asked him to file his reply by 5 pm tomorrow. The poll panel has
also issued a notice to Maharashtra Home Minister RR Patil, who was
yesterday booked for a speech he made in Belgaum.
Eshwarappa, who is a BJP leader, had reportedly said in a speech in
Shimoga earlier this week that "young Muslim men are getting involved
with Hindu women as part of a Love Jihad." A local Congress leader Syed
Wahid has complained and the police have registered a case against the
senior minister under laws that deal with promoting enmity between
different groups and religions.
On Thursday, word had reached
Mumbai that a case had been registered against RR Patil of the
Nationalist Congress Party for saying that a 2005 incident in
Karnataka's border town of Belgaum, when the face of a Marathi-speaking
Mayor Vijay More was blackened by activists, was, "not an insult to one
man but to 12 crore Marathis".
Mr Patil also said, "We
(Marathis) are generally patient people. We don't get up every morning
and draw our swords. But when our self-respect is hurt, our swords don't
get sheathed unless we get our revenge." Karnataka and Maharashtra have
a longstanding dispute on territorial rights over about 800 villages on
The Belgaum police have charged Mr Patil, who was
attending a private function, with promoting enmity between different
groups and religions and with violating the election code of conduct.
The Election Commission had asked for a report and a recording of the
Karnataka will vote on May 5 and the BJP is fighting
with its back to the wall to retain the only southern state it rules.
The Congress, which has not been in power in the state since 2006, sees a
very good chance to displace the ruling party, which is battling deep
internal fissures. The NCP is the Congress' partner both in Maharashtra
and at the Centre.