Bengaluru: Senior BJP leader and Karnataka MLC A H Vishwanath has hit out at Sri Rama Sene chief Pramod Muthalik for raking up communally sensitive issues in the state and has reminded him that the government does not belong to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) or the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP).
In a press conference in Mysuru on Monday, Vishwanath said, “Who is Muthalik to dictate terms to the government and issue communally sensitive statements? It is a tragedy that the state government is not able to take action against such people. The government does not belong to the RSS or the VHP.” He added that the “government’s inaction will send wrong signals to the people.”
Vishwanath had earlier criticised right-wing organisations against for their calls to bar Muslim traders from participating in temple festivals. He had opposed the demand by groups including the VHP, Hindu Jagarana Vedike, Bajrang Dal and the Sree Rama Sene.
The BJP government has justified the curbs citing a rule introduced in 2002, during the Congress tenure, that bars non-Hindus from running shops on temple premises.
“This is all madness. No God or religion preaches these kinds of things. Religions are inclusive and not exclusive. The state government must intervene. I don’t know why the government is mum over this issue,” Vishwanath had said, adding that the move was “undemocratic”.
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“How many Indians are there in England? How many Indians are there around the world? How many Indians are working in Muslim countries? If these countries decide to act against us, where will all this end… Muslims in India chose to live in India when the Partition of India and Pakistan occurred. They did not go with Jinnah. We must ponder on this, they remained here to be Indians. They are Indians, not people of some other nationality,” he had said.
Vishwanath is a former Congress minister and ex-state president of JD(S). The veteran OBC leader switched to the BJP in 2019 to help the party and its leader B S Yediyurappa come to power in Karnataka. He was denied a Cabinet berth after failing to get elected to the state legislature but was nominated to the legislative council.
The MLC is also a novelist who writes in Kannada. He left the Congress after falling out with fellow OBC leader and former chief minister Siddaramaiah when the party was in power from 2013 to 2018.