Mysuru (Karnataka): BJP National President Amit Shah on Friday was ‘heckled’ by angry protesters who raised slogans against anti-Dalit remarks by Union Minister Ananth Kumar Hegde a few months ago.
Shah, who is on a two-day visit to the old Mysuru region in the poll-bound Karnataka, sought to pacify the Dalit leaders by distancing from Hegde’s controversial remarks and for which the latter had apologized too. “Neither the BJP nor me has anything to do with Hegde’s statements. We don’t endorse such remarks,” Shah told the Dalit leaders at a meeting here where he sought their support for the party’s victory in the May 12 assembly poll.
Accusing the media of “twisting” his speech at Ballari in the state’s northwest district in December, Hegde had then tweeted that he would apologise if his remarks had hurt the feelings of the people. Hegde is also accused of comparing Dalits with “barking dogs” on an earlier occasion at Sirsi, his constituency in the state’s Uttara Kannada district.
Supporting the protest by the Dalits, the Congress state unit urged Shah to answer their legitimate questions on Hegde “insulting” the community. “Why haven’t you taken any action against your party man for such derogatory comments? This clearly shows that BJP endorses his hate-mongering,” said the party in a tweet. Ruling party’s spokesman Randeep Singh Surjewala also tweeted that the anti-Dalit mindset of the BJP was exposed again. “Amit Shah acts as a political chameleon and follows worst type of opportunism by publicly disowning Union Minister Anant Hegde. Will he dare to sack him? Stop the doublespeak and act,” tweeted Surjewala.