The BJP sharing a video of Karnataka Congress leader and former chief minister of the state, Siddaramaiah allegedly discussing caste-based politics has sparked off the latest spat between the two parties.
In the video, which is being widely circulated online, Siddaramaiah is allegedly heard as saying that the Lingayat community is not as much supportive of CM BS Yeddyurappa as they were in the past whereas the Vokkalogas ar no more with former CM HD Kumaraswamy, Karnataka BJP's twitter post claimed.
Sharing the video, the BJP tweeted: "India is progressing forward. Will the master of Appeasement politics ever grow beyond caste?"
India is progressing forward. Will the master of "Appeasement Politics" ever grow beyond Caste? pic.twitter.com/eyngpSUGKP— BJP Karnataka (@BJP4Karnataka) October 28, 2019
BJP and Congress had a face-off in Karnataka earlier this year when the Congress-JDS government fell owing to 16 of their MLAs resigning, leading to BJP leader and former CM BS Yediyurappa coming to power.
Siddaramaiah defended himself by calling the video “targeted fake news” and “misinterpretation” in a series of tweets.
Casual private discussion at my residence is being misinterpreted by @BJP4Karnataka leaders to derive sadistic pleasures. Illumination of truth shall always prevail over the darkness of lies. This will be my Deepavali message to my political rivals.— Siddaramaiah (@siddaramaiah) October 28, 2019
He added that he was talking about people seeing ‘beyond caste’ to decide their representatives and said he always went by principles of Mahatma Gandhi, B R Ambedkar, 12th-century Lingayat saint Basavanna, and Kannada poet Kuvempu.
The senior Congress leader also criticized the BJP by saying: “These political rhetorics are started when political parties reach moral bankruptcy.”
The BJP did not relent as it replied to Siddaramaiah’s tweet: “Sri @siddaramaiah
Gandhiji spoke about Simplicity but You wore Hublot watch.
Ambedkar worked towards uplifting the Deprived but You ignored them.
Basavanna spoke about Kaayakave Kailasa but You slept.
Kuvempu spoke about Universal Brotherhood but You divided Religion.”
Political experts point out that Karnataka politics has heavy influences of caste as communities votes on that plank. While, traditionally, Siddaramaiah has the support of AHINDA (Kannada acronym for minorities, backward castes and Dalits) castes; The Deve Gowda-ledJDS has a Vokkaliga-Muslim-OBC-Dalit support base and BJP banks on a Lingayat-ST-OBC-SC combine.