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BJP releases pro-Hindutva video ahead of Karnataka polls, accuses Congress of ‘stealing saffron’

The party has released a 1:12-minute-long video accusing an unmentioned entity of killing Hindus, and charging the Congress of “stealing the saffron colour”.

india Updated: Jan 16, 2018 23:55 IST
BJP,Karnataka elections,Yogi Adityanath
Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath has visited the southern state on two occasions to attend the BJP’s Parivartan Yatra.(Subhankar Chakraborty/HT PHOTO)

The ‘Hindu’ stamp on the BJP’s campaign for the upcoming Karnataka assembly election just got bolder.

The party has released a 1:12-minute-long video accusing an unmentioned entity (referred to as “them”) of killing Hindus, and charging the Congress of “stealing the saffron colour”. The clip was first shared by the Uttar Pradesh unit of the BJP on January 12, and re-tweeted by the party’s national unit the following day.

The video goes on to show Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah performing an ‘aarti’ and Congress president Rahul Gandhi draping a saffron shawl over his shoulders even as the voiceover accuses the grand old party of making people suffer. “Lekin Yogi ke pahunchte hi khud Hindu ho jaate hain, mandir ka ghanta bajate hain, bhagwa bhi chura laate hain (No sooner does Yogi land that they become Hindu, start ringing temple bells, and (trying to) steal our saffron colour),” the voiceover claimed as an image of Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath takes over the screen.

Adityanath, who visited Bengaluru on January 7 to address a public meeting during the BJP’s Parivartan Yatra, has been duelling with Siddaramaiah on Twitter. When the godman-politician asked Siddaramaiah why he was “endorsing” beef eaters despite being a Hindu, the Karnataka chief minister retorted by questioning the former’s right to criticise the food habits of people. “Many Hindus eat beef, and I will too if I want to. I do not eat beef because I do not like it. Who is he to ask anyway?” Siddaramaiah shot back.

The saffron-clad Uttar Pradesh politician has visited the southern state on two occasions to attend the BJP’s yatra for change. “There will be more visits by him,” a BJP general secretary said.

BJP spokesperson GVL Narsimha Rao said that while “positive governance” and “anti-corruption” will remain the party’s key issues in the poll campaign, it will also “expose the Siddaramaiah government’s blatantly communal designs in not reining in radical organisation such as the PFI (Popular Front of India) and its tacit understanding with such groups”.

Rao went on to claim that 22 BJP workers were murdered under the Siddaramaiah government’s rule, 10 of which were carried out by the PFI.

Dakshina Kannada district secretary of the PFI, Ashraf AK said these were complete lies. “The BJP’s MPs used to earlier claim that the PFI had killed 24 Hindutva activists. Now that number has reduced to 10. It is clear that ahead of the elections they will come up with numbers to suit their requirement,” he said.

According to Ashraf, in many cases, PFI leaders had been falsely implicated as the default move of the police when a Hindutva activist died was to book PFI members.

State home minister Ramalinga Reddy rubbished the BJP’s allegations saying the figures were completely untrue. “Over the past five years 11 Hindutva workers have been killed in communal violence. The rest were either killed by other Hindus or died due to other reasons,” he said. Besides, Reddy said, the BJP is yet to answer for the eight Muslims who have been killed by Sangh activists.

Adityanath stayed at the Adichunchunagiri Mutt, headed by Vokkaliga seer Nirmalananda Nath Swami, on January 6. The religious establishment belongs to the Nath sect, to which Adityanath belongs.

The Uttar Pradesh chief minister addressed 35 rallies across two dozen districts of Gujarat in the run-up to its assembly election in December.

First Published: Jan 16, 2018 23:55 IST