Bengaluru: Union Minister and BJP lawmaker from Karnataka Anantkumar Hegde has been warned not to make communally incendiary remarks, said BS Yeddyurappa, the BJP's chief ministerial candidate for the upcoming Karnataka elections.
- Karnataka to host closely-watched state elections later this year
- BJP, led by Yeddyurappa in Karnataka, hopes to script a comeback
- He says leaders asked not to make incendiary remarks ahead of polls
"I don't agree with such remarks. Anantkumar Hegde has been warned not to speak like that," Mr Yeddyurappa said in an interview to NDTV.
Mr Hegde, a recent entrant to the Union Cabinet, has been a repeat offender, making a series of provocative statements, including comments such as "until we uproot Islam, we can't remove terrorism".
"He is warned against speaking such things and also he has apologised in the parliament," said Mr Yeddyurappa.
Mr Hegde is not the only one. Another BJP leader from Karnataka, Shobha Karandlaje, late last year tweeted "Jihadis tried to rape and murder girl studying in 9th std near Honnavar. Why is the govt. silent about this incident? Arrest those who molested and injured this girl. Where are you CM?"
Mr Yeddyurappa said, "24 Hindu youth have been killed in the state" due to, he said, laxity of the Congress state government.
However, he claimed all BJP leaders in the state have been warned from making incendiary comments. "We asked them to stop all such things," he said.
The BJP's chief ministerial candidate however is unsparing in his shots at Rahul Gandhi, describing him as an "Election Hindu" in response to the Congress president's visits to temples in Karnataka.
"Divide and rule has been Congress policy. For BJP Hindutva is development for all religions. 'Sabka saath sabka vikas' is our agenda. Rahul Gandhi is trying to please people and started visiting temples," he said.
Mr Yeddyurappa brushed aside suggestions that there is a trust deficit between him and the BJP leadership. In 2012, he had left the party in a huff after he was replaced as Chief Minister owing to charges of corruption.
"One year back they (the BJP leadership) said I will be CM. Nowhere else in the country did they do it (announce a Chief Ministerial candidate in advance)," he said.
Mr Yeddyurappa drew flak for bowing before BJP President Amit Shah at a rally in Karnataka. Asked if he regretted it, he said, "Not at all. That is not correct. He (Amit Shah) is an elderly person and president of the party, so I wished him."
On Twitter, he has described the Siddaramaiah government as a "10% government", a reference to allegations of corruption.
In his interview, he increased that number, saying "for every work they (the state government) are collecting more than 20-25% (kickbacks)."
He denies, however, that his own legacy of corruption charges will dent the BJP's prospects.
"As far as charges on me go, neither in High Court or Supreme Court has any charge been proved," he said.