Under attack from the BJP for allegedly going to a temple after eating non-vegetarian food recently, and thereby hurting religious sentiments, Senior Congress leader Siddaramaiah on Tuesday clarified that he did not eat any meat that day.
Also terming it a "non-issue", the former Chief Minister tried to assert the right to choice of food.
Siddaramaiah entering Basaveshwara temple in Kodlipet during his recent visit to Kodagu on August 18, after allegedly having non-vegetarian food has triggered a controversy.
"Is eating meat an issue? (What one eats) is a personal food habit. I eat both meat and vegetarian food, it is my habit. Some don't eat meat, it's their food habit," Siddaramaiah said in response to a question.
Speaking to reporters here, he said the BJP "doesn't have any other work", and hence is trying to create controversies to divert public attention from "main issues".
"According to me, it is not at all an issue. Many go without eating meat and many go after eating. In many places, meat is offered to deities. To tell you the truth I had not eaten meat that day. I said what I have subsequently for the sake of argument. Though there was chicken curry, I ate only bamboo shoot curry and 'akki rotti'," he added.
Siddaramaiah, the leader of opposition in the state assembly, on Sunday in his defence had said he is a non-vegetarian and it's his food habit and questioned whether God has said what to eat and what not to before visiting a temple.
The Congress Legislature Party leader's alleged act of visiting a temple after eating meat and his subsequent remarks had drawn sharp reactions from ruling BJP leaders, with senior MLA Basangouda Patil Yatnal even challenging: "If you- Siddaramaiah- have guts, eat pork and visit a mosque."
Reacting to this challenge and attacks, Siddaramaiah said: "I only eat chicken and mutton, no other meat (pork or beef). But I'm not opposed to those who eat it, as it is their food habit." Responding to state BJP chief Nalin Kumar Kateel's statement accusing him of "staging a drama" of visiting temples and maths with elections approaching, Siddaramaiah said he visits temples and believes in the oneness of God.
"I go to temples, but I have not made it my profession. I go to temples in my village...why should I go searching for God in Kashmir or some other place? I have many times been to Tirupati, Mahadeshwara hills, Chamundi hills, Nanjanagu temple. I go everywhere," he said.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)