- Anantkumar Hegde made remark on Congress leader Dinesh Gundu Rao's wife
- "Hand that touches Hindu girl should not exist," Mr Hegde said on Sunday
- Sad to see Anantkumar Hegde stoop to such low levels: Dinesh Gundu Rao
Union Minister Anantkumar Hegde has plumbed new lows in public discourse with a series of inflammatory and wild statements. On Sunday, he declared at a public event that any hand that touches a Hindu girl "should not exist". This morning, he hit out at a Congress leader by dragging his Muslim wife into a Twitter spat.
"We have to rethink the priorities of our society. We shouldn't think of caste.If a Hindu girl is touched by a hand, then that hand should not exist," said Anantkumar Hegde in Karnataka's Kodagu district, adding to a growing list of controversial, ill-considered comments.
In front of a large crowd on Sunday, the minister also said: "Taj Mahal was not built by Muslims. It's definitely not built by Muslims, the history speaks for it. Shah Jahan in his autobiography has said he bought this palace from King Jayasimha. It's a Shiv mandir built by King Paramatheertha, Tejo Mahalaya. Tejo Mahalaya became Taj Mahal. If we keep sleeping, most of our houses also will be named manzil. In future, Lord Ram will be called jahanpana and Sita will become bibi."
Karnataka Congress president Dinesh Gundu Rao condemned the comments by the Union Minister of State for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship as "deplorable". "Wht are ur achievements after becoming a Union Minister or as MP? Wht are ur contributions for Karnataka's development? All I can say for sure, it's deplorable tht such people have become ministers & have managed to get elected as MP's," Mr Rao tweeted.
Anantkumar Hegde's response was a vicious attack referring to Mr Rao's wife Tabu Rao.
I shall definitely answer this guy @dineshgrao's queries, before which could he please reveal himself as to who he is along with his achievements?— Anantkumar Hegde (@AnantkumarH) January 27, 2019
I only know him as a guy who ran behind a Muslim lady. https://t.co/8hVJ2wQXMU
Mr Gundu Rao tweeted back: "Sad to see @AnantkumarH stoop to such low levels as to bring in personal issues. Guess it's his lack of culture. Guess he hasn't learnt from our Hindu scriptures. Time hasn't run out, he can still try and become a more dignified human."
Mr Hegde, a senior Karnataka leader of the BJP, has been a non-stop source of provocative remarks that didn't pause even after he joined the central government in 2017.
Earlier this month, he termed the Kerala government's handling of the Sabarimala row as "daylight rape" of Hindus.
Last year, the serial offender described Dalit protesters who waylaid his convoy en route to a job fair in Karnataka's Ballari as "dogs barking on the road". A few months later, he compared the opposition to "crows, monkeys, foxes and others" that had come together to fight the tiger that's Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Even the Janata Dal (United), a BJP ally, asked him to mind his language.
In 2017, Mr Hegde said that his party, the BJP, would change the Constitution by removing the word "secular" from it - provoking protests across the country. The same year, he was caught slapping a doctor on camera because he wasn't happy with the medical treatment provided to his mother.