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BJP high command tells Karnataka unit to urgently tone down communal rhetoric, asks CM Bommai to focus on infrastructure

Shankar Raj | Updated on: Monday, April 11, 2022, 06:28 PM IST

Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai |
Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai |
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Bengaluru: A worried and upset BJP high command has asked its party unit in Karnataka to urgently tone down the rhetoric from fringe groups on divisive issues such as the boycott of halal meat, Muslim mango traders, Muslim cab drivers etc.

Soon after warnings came of a likely backlash over such issues ahead of the Assembly elections next year, the state government has sought to distance itself from these boycott calls.

N Ravi Kumar, senior MLC, BJP state general secretary and a leader known for his hawkish viewpoints, said, “The BJP has decided not to back these organisations as they are disturbing the business atmosphere in Karnataka. The state government will even take stern action to control them, if necessary.”

Law minister JC Madhuswamy Sunday warned extreme fringe groups of strict action if the situation went out of hand and assured equality to all citizens of the state as enshrined in the Constitution.

Madhuswamy, who handles law and parliamentary affairs in the Bommai cabinet, is the first senior minister to openly voice disappointment after issues like hijab, halal and banning non-Hindu traders during temple fairs cropped up.

He said, “The government has no role to play in these issues. The state will take strict action against fringe groups which are creating trouble if the situation further worsened. All those who chose to stay back in India after Independence are Indians. This country belongs to everyone. I don’t see any meaning in creating a controversy about that now. The state will not give any quarter for such fringe elements (to stoke controversies).”

Ministers and MLAs have been asked not to fan the boycott call fire and that they should, at best, take a measured response to fringe elements raking up communal issues.

The BJP high command is unhappy that the fringe groups are being identified as part of the BJP and the Opposition has aggressively started painting the ruling party in the state with the same brush as that of the hawkish right-wing groups.

The BJP high command is also upset over the brand image of Benguluru taking a dent. The series of communal controversies and attempts to keep Muslims away from businesses has drawn global attention and has triggered a public debate on the government’s role in ensuring a conducive business atmosphere.

The BJP leadership has also taken a serious move over neighbouring states of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh trying to attract investors from Bengaluru saying that the business environment is not tarnished by communal overtones in their respective states. Tamil Nadu’s finance minister had called for investors to shift from Karnataka to his state. Soon Minister for municipal administration and Urban Development of Andhra Pradesh, KT Rama Rao, launched a Twitter war over how Hyderabad is a better investor destination compared to Bengaluru.

Biocon founder and an influential industrial leader Kiran Mazumdar Shaw was the first to publicly raise concerns over “economic exclusion” in the state and many industrialists and honchos of startups have since expressed their displeasure. The latest to join the bandwagon was entrepreneur TV Mohandas Pai, who in a tweet, pointed to the poor infrastructure in Bengaluru.

The BJP has taken the cue and asked Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai to focus on infrastructure and defocus on communally sensitive issues.

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Published on: Monday, April 11, 2022, 06:28 PM IST