A former Congress legislator KN Rajanna got a backlash for his statement that former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda would soon be carried by four people, meaning that the 88-year-old's end was near. Later, Mr Rajanna tendered an apology.
At a function at Madhugiri in Tumakuru district of Karnataka on Thursday, Mr Rajanna appealed to the electorate to vote for him in the upcoming Assembly election as this would be his last election.
“This will be my last election. I am not going to contest elections anymore even if you ask me to because I am already 72. After five years, I will be 77, that is when my hands and legs will be shaking,” Mr Rajanna told the gathering.
Suddenly, some one in the crowd reminded him of Deve Gowda, who is still active in electoral politics.
Quickly Mr Rajanna said, “Deve Gowda is presently being carried by two people. Soon, four people will carry him.” The remark drew the ire of the family of the JD(S) leader, the Opposition Congress as well as the BJP.
“There are people who say Deve Gowda does not have strength anymore. I have to demonstrate as to how strong I am. I would like to say that there is something called strength - God,” Mr Gowda said at the party office - JP Bhavan - during an event ‘Janata Mitra,' which kickstarted today.
Mr Gowda's son and former Karnataka chief minister HD Kumaraswamy said the words of Mr Rajanna display a distorted mindset, and arrogance.
“Today, the way a great Congress leader spoke ill against honourable Deve Gowda, exhibiting his distorted mindset, reflects on his culture. I am hurt by those words...,” the JD(S) second-in-command said.
He said, “I am hurt not because he (Gowda) is my father. I often cry whenever I go to anyone's funeral. The words "carried by four people" show his arrogance. There is someone above us. You are not God, you are just an ordinary human being.” Mr Gowda's grandson and a Member of Parliament Prajwal Revanna said people of Madhugiri, who rejected Mr Rajanna in the previous election, would beat him up for his remark.
Karnataka Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister JC Madhuswamy who is an MLA from Madhugiri advised Mr Rajanna to respect an elderly politician.
“As a friend, I want to tell Rajanna that he should not have said so. Whatever may be the politics, he should not have spoken so, of an elderly politician,” Mr Madhuswamy said.
The Congress State president DK Shivakumar condemned the remark.
“It is deplorable and inhumane to speak ill of a senior statesman and worshipful Deve Gowda, who has served the State as well as the nation. I ask Rajanna to apologise,” Mr Shivakumar said.
Apologising, Mr Rajanna said he has respect for Gowda and his intention was not to hurt him, his family or his well-wishers.
“Those who heard me have perceived me wrongly. However, I will not get into any argument. I regret if my words have hurt him, his family or well-wishers, and I apologise,” Mr Rajanna said.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)