"Congress Sat On Evidence Against Prajwal Revanna For A Year": Nirmala Sitharaman

The Congress was afraid it might lose the Vokkaliga votes and stayed silent until the first phase of the Lok Sabha elections was over, Nirmala Sitharaman said.

'Congress Sat On Evidence Against Prajwal Revanna For A Year': Nirmala Sitharaman

Nirmala Sitharaman claimed Congress didn't act on evidence against Prajwal Revanna for over a year (File)


Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman today claimed that the Congress government in Karnataka did not take action against JDS leader Prajwal Revanna, accused of sexually abusing women, for about a year despite being aware of the matter.

The Congress was afraid it might lose the Vokkaliga votes and stayed silent until the first phase of the Lok Sabha elections was over, she said at a meeting with select journalists in Pune.

"The Union Home Minister made it very clear that we will not tolerate the matters that go against women and we stand united on that. Though the alliance partner has this issue, we have made it clear that it was unacceptable, and let it be investigated," Ms Sitharaman said when asked if the scandal would impact her party's performance in Karnataka in the ongoing elections.

A driver reportedly gave a pen drive allegedly containing evidence of Revanna's acts to Congress and the Karnataka Home Minister. But they sat on this evidence for about a year, she said, adding that "now the BJP is made to answer because the JDS is in alliance with us."

The ministers of the state knew what was in the pen drive but did not think that women's safety should be their priority, Ms Sitharaman alleged.

"They thought the Vokkaliga votes might go from their hands and decided to remain silent until the first phase of Lok Sabha got over. Now they are making it a big issue and pushing it which is typical of Congress and shows their hypocrisy," the BJP leader further said, asking why a probe was delayed for one year.

The Karnataka government is now writing to the PM about the case, asking him to issue look-out notices against Prajwal Revanna and bring him back from abroad. But the Union Home Minister had clearly said that the Karnataka government can take all the action it wants, she said.

Asked about BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh's son Karan Singh getting a BJP ticket from UP's Kaiserganj constituency, Ms Sitharaman said the allegations against the MP had not been proven yet.

Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh is accused of sexually harassing women wrestlers.

"Nothing is proven against Brij Bhushan... even if he is convicted, I would say you don't want to carry the blame to the son. So many parties have entertained the children of convicts," she said.

The BJP was still confident after two phases of the Lok Sabha elections of winning 370 seats on its own and 400 seats along with its NDA allies, she said.

Asked if the BJP was in a defence mode and responding to the Opposition's narrative instead of setting its own, Ms Sitharaman said this was not the case.

"Our response to the Congress' manifesto is not defensive, nor is it negative. Rather it is more offensive and substantive," she said, adding that the manifesto was more of a Muslim League document.

Later, in an interaction with students at an event at the city's Deccan College, Nirmala Sitharaman talked about the Rohith Vemula case where the Telangana police filed a closure report before a local court stating that the Hyderabad University student was not a Dalit, and died by suicide in 2016 as he feared that his "real caste" would be discovered.

The issue was dragged to the streets without allowing the university to handle it with sensitivity, the Union Minister said.

"It was an unfortunate incident. It was dragged to the streets and a narrative was built that the government was suppressing (facts) and was against students and SCs. Today, the same people who dragged the family of Rohit Vemula onto the street, should stand up before the entire country and apologise for politicising it," she said.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)