Mysuru: BJP president Amit Shah today began a two-day tour in Karnataka's old Mysuru region, a stronghold of the Congress and the Janata Dal Secular, with a spot of trouble at an interaction with Dalit activists. The meeting was shadowed by loud slogans and chaos as Dalit activists protested against Union Minister Anantkumar Hegde's controversial comments on the constitution four months ago.
Angry Dalit leaders demanded to know from the BJP chief what action would he take against his party leader, who was also on camera comparing Dalits and secular people to street dogs.
Amit Shah distanced himself from the comments, saying the BJP had nothing to do with them.
Anantkumar Hegde, 49, a five-term Lok Sabha lawmaker from the Uttara Kannada constituency in Karnataka, made the comments at a function in December. "Some people say the Constitution says secular and you must accept it. We will respect the Constitution, but the Constitution has changed several times and it will change in the future too. We are here to change the Constitution and we'll change it."
Some Dalit intellectuals have interpreted that to mean that reservations may be done away with.
He had also urged people to "claim with pride that they are Muslim, Christian, Lingayat, Brahmin, or Hindu".
The Congress targeted Mr Shah, accusing him of "opportunism" by disowning M Hegde's comments.
Amit Shah is on a two-day tour in the Old Mysuru region, considered the stronghold of the Congress and the Janata Dal Secular. Today, he visited the 1000-year-old Suttur Mutt, which has among followers Lingayat, Veershaivas and beyond. He also interacted with the erstwhile royal family of Mysuru and reportedly sought the support of the Wodeyars.