‘Never use religion to…,’ Karnataka BJP MLC's ‘advice’ to his party
Veteran OBC leader and BJP MLC from Karnataka, AH Vishwanath said, “I'm not sure why they're targeting Muslim sellers and companies in particular. This is a pretty bad condition of the state. The government must step-in and help. Alternatively, there will be a public response.”
In Karnataka, a senior BJP legislator, AH Vishwanath, has questioned the state government's "silence" over the ban on Muslim vendors from trading during temple festivals. He even asked, what would the government do if other Muslim majority countries start treating Hindus the way we treat Muslims. This has further gone trending on social media.
On Sunday, BJP Legislative Council member AH Vishwanath from Mysuru said, “It is very dangerous to indulge in politics of religion. One should never use religion to win elections. How many elections will you win basis this?” He further invoked the Prime Minister's vision, "Prime minister Narendra Modi has given the message of ‘Sab ka vikas and vishwas’. But our state is moving in the wrong direction. How are those Muslims, who sell flowers, fruits, and puja material near temples, going to earn their livelihood? It amounts to untouchability."
"How many Indians live in the United Kingdom? How many Indians do you think there are on the planet? In Muslim-majority countries, how many Indians work? What will happen if these governments decide to take action against them? Will our government be able to take them in if they are expelled from these countries? "the Former Minister asked.
"When India and Pakistan were partitioned, India's Muslims decided to remain in India. They were not in favour of Jinnah. This is something that we should consider. They stayed because they wanted to be Indians. They are Indians, not people of other ethnicities," Vishwanath told reporters.
Following pressure from right-wing organisations like the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, the Bajrang Dal, and the Sree Rama Sene, a number of temples in the Udupi and Shivamogga districts had banned Muslim merchants from participating in their festivals. Ban on Muslim sellers has now expanded across the state's temple festivities. The restriction is based on a 2002 ordinance imposed by a Congress-led government that prevented non-Hindus from conducting enterprises on temple grounds.
“I'm not sure why they're targeting Muslim sellers and companies in particular. This is a pretty bad condition of the state. The government must step in and help. Alternatively, there will be a public response,” he warned. “People have livelihoods to feed and clothe themselves; if there is no means of livelihood, what is the point of democracy, religion, caste—throw it all away. What are we looking for when we don't have the means to buy food?” He further explained.
Vishwanath is veteran OBC leader, had previously with the Congress party and served as state president of the Janata Dal Secular (Secular). In 2019, he had switched from the JD(S) to the BJP in order to support the BJP and BS Yediyurappa to form the government. He was denied a cabinet position because he lost a by-election but was instead nominated to the council.
Vishwanath is also a Kannada writer and novelist, had left the Congress after a disagreement with fellow OBC leader and former chief minister Siddaramaiah while the party was in power from 2013 to 2018.