Journalist turned politician and Mysuru-Kodagu BJP MP Pratap Simha was his usual roaring self as he slammed Chief Minister Siddaramaiah for targeting his political opponents using pro-minority outfits like KFD and PFI. He wondered what was the need to withdraw criminal cases against them and alleged that by doing so, Mr Siddaramaiah was indirectly responsible for the murders of pro-Hindu and BJP workers. In an interview with Deccan Chronicle, Mr Simha directed his firepower on the CM, who incidentally hails from Mysuru and asserted that instead of doing good work, he was dividing society. The development of Karnataka and easing Bengaluru traffic would be the main plank of his party in the Assembly elections, he said adding that the 'eclipse' which had darkened the skies of Karnataka in the past five years, would be over in May first week when the BJP forms the new government. Here are excerpts from the interview.
The BJP claims the murders of all Hindus are those of BJP workers. But the Congress asserts they were not all BJP workers. What is the truth?
Prashanth Poojari of Moodbidri, Raju of Mysuru, Pravin Poojari of Kushalnagar, Sharath Madivala of Bantwal, Deepak Rao (BJP social media head) in Surathkal and Santosh of Bengaluru, were all BJP workers. Kuttappa from Madikeri, Rudresh from Bengaluru and Vishwanath from Shivamogga belonged to the Sangh Parivar. They were BJP workers and Hindus. I will ask a question: Have any Congress workers been killed? The Congress ward president's son has killed Santosh, what does this reveal? So many murders have not occurred even in Kerala. In all these cases, KFD and PFI members are involved. Why did they withdraw 175 criminal cases against 1600 KFD and PFI workers? So many murders have occurred after they withdrew cases against rogue elements and religious fanatics.
What is the proof?
The NIA itself has revealed that KFD and PFI workers murdered all of them. Who is Abid Pasha, the accused in the Raju murder case? Haris, the accused in the Pravin Poojari case is a district secretary of KFD, the accused in the Sharath Madivala case is the Chamarajanagar KFD district president. All six accused in the Rudresh murder are office bearers of KFD and workers, and it is the same KFD, PFI or SDPI members who are involved in all the other murders. What more proof is needed?
Congress claims of the 25 murders, only nine are communal and the rest were due to personal rivalry.
Even if a single murder has a communal angle, why did they not initiate action? All the perpetrators are Muslims and all the victims are Hindus. How can it be possible? From Kengal Hanumanthaiah to Dharam Singh, there have been so many Congress Chief Ministers. Why did it not happen during the tenure of previous CMs, why is it happening only now? Jihadis and Marxists kill those who do not approve of their philosophies ruthlessly. Where was the need to withdraw criminal cases against these Jihadis?
So what are you aiming at?
Mr Siddaramaiah is indirectly perpetrating the murders. What else is this? What else is the motive?
Why don’t you consider these murders as mere deaths of innocent people? Why do you keep claiming they were Hindu activists and BJP workers?
Whether it is personal rivalry or anything else, it is the duty of the government to protect the common man, whether they have voted for them or not. Has any Congress activist been shot by the PFI or KFD? Where is the personal rivalry, if a Chamarajanagar KFD district president shoots at Sharath Madivala in Bantwal? Where was the personal rivalry in the Kuttappa case in Kodagu? Show me if any Congressmen have died, we will support them too. Why have the perpetrators of the murders of writer M.M. Kalburgi and Journalist Gauri Lankesh not been nabbed? What happened to the investigation? Who is dividing society by making political statements in the name of Lingayats and Veerashaivas?
So you claim the BJP is not involved in religion-based politics?
Show me one example. For his political convenience and to retain power, Siddaramaiah is dividing society. He has mastered the art of divide and rule.
You don't leave the last rites of Hindu activists who are murdered, to their respective families, you insist on taking the body in a procession? Are you provoking communal emotions by doing so?
We are not just a political party, we are a family, so we participate. Where are we provoking communal emotions? Let them stop the series of murders. Should we keep quiet when our activists die? If a Congress worker had died during BJP rule, would they have kept quiet?
There are allegations that Union Minister Anant Kumar Hegde and you are making statements which are hurting the sentiments of people.
I challenge the Congress to prove I have made a provocative statement against any community. Show me a single statement I have made against Muslims or Christians. Why did they stop the Hanuma Jayanthi procession? Was it not peaceful? They bring the Anti-Superstition Bill but sit in a weighing machine to perform tulabara. Is it not superstition?
Congress wants PM Narendra Modi's intervention in the Mahadayi issue. Why are BJP MPs not convincing him?
It was when Manmohan Singh was PM that the Supreme Court constituted the Mahadayi tribunal in 2010. Mrs Sonia Gandhi (former Congress president) said that they would not give a drop of water to Karnataka. When the Congress-led UPA government was in power, there were Congress governments in Goa and Maharashtra too. Why didn't they resolve the row? Is it because they didn't want the BJP to take credit? As per the Inter-State Water Dispute Act 1956, only when all aggrieved parties agree can the PM intervene. So we have convinced the BJP government in Goa and Maharashtra, if Siddaramaiah has an iota of concern for farmers, let him convince his Congress counterparts in those two states.
The CM plans to bring his son into politics in Assembly polls.
No politician of any party should use his clout just to create a political future for his children. If my daughter wants to get into politics, she should do so on her own merit.
Siddaramaiah alleges the BJP government at the Centre is discriminating against Karnataka?
In the recent Union Budget, we have given Rs 17,000 crores for the Bengaluru suburban rail to ease traffic problems in the IT Capital. Why are they not utilising central funds? We developed 10,000 kms of national highways in the state since 2014. The 14th Finance Commission gave Rs 28,000 crore extra to Karnataka while Tamil Nadu got only Rs 24,000 crores. In the entire ten years the Congress led UPA was in power, they gave Rs 1,500 crore for drought relief to the state but in the past four years, our Union government has given Rs 5000 crores. Let them come out with a White Paper so that people know the facts.
What is the BJP's agenda, ahead of the Assembly elections?
Development of Karnataka is our only agenda besides finding a solution for the traffic problems in Bengaluru. We will come to power in May first week and the development process will begin.
Note from Kannada.Club :
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