- HD Kumaraswamy's remarks on a woman farmer have stirred up a controversy
- Karnataka farmers are protesting over the payments due from sugar mills
- HD Kumaraswamy claimed motivated groups and not farmers are protesting
Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy's remarks on a woman farmer have stirred up a controversy with the opposition training its guns on him. Hundreds of sugarcane farmers have been protesting in north Karnataka over the last few days over the minimum purchase price for sugarcane.
Among the protesters was a woman farmer who criticised Mr Kumaraswamy strongly. He responded later and said in Kannada, "Thayi (mother), where were you sleeping for the last four years".
The chief minister said it was not farmers who were protesting but some motivated groups.
The BJP called Mr Kumaraswamy an "opportunist" and demanded an apology.
An opportunist CM would never respect the citizens & this is exactly what CM Kumaraswamy is doing.— BJP Karnataka (@BJP4Karnataka) November 19, 2018
Asking a women where she was sleeping for last 4 years clearly shows the individuality of Kumaraswamy.
This is beyond apologising, this is a shame & insult to women of the state. pic.twitter.com/ZFHiMP1G4c
Karnataka BJP chief and former chief minister BS Yeddyurappa told NDTV, "Yesterday, the chief minister's statement against that lady and also the farmers... these type of words, never in the history of Karnataka has a chief minister uttered such words. It is foolishness. And I demand that the chief minister immediately apologise. "
Mr Kumaraswamy later clarified his remarks. "What I meant was, "why have you woken up to that situation now? Were you sleeping?' I would never disrespect a woman. These are not farmers who are agitating but these are sponsored protests," he told NDTV.
Farmers on Sunday attacked the Suvarna Vidhana Soudha in Belagavi, the legislative assembly building similar to the Vidhana Soudha in Bengaluru.
Around ten farmers in four trucks with sugarcane forcefully entered into the Suvarna Vidhana Soudha, the police said. The farmers were protesting Mr Kumaraswamy's reported cancellation of his visit to meet the farmers who were protesting over payments due from sugar mills. The chief minister described those who barged into the legislature complex as "goondas" and accused hem of defaming the entire farming community.
The protests are likely to intensify with the farmers taking their agitation to Bengaluru. "This govt from the beginning is pro-farmer. Rs 45,000 crores was waived off by other government the way HD Kumaraswamy's government has. We are with the farmers and we will support the farmers all the problems," said Karnataka Co-operation Minister Bandeppa Kashempur who reached the city's Freedom Park to meet the farmers.
The farmers told NDTV they wanted the government to live up to their promise of farm loan waivers, support price of crops and help with irrigation.