‘BSNL employees traitors’: BJP’s Anantkumar Hegde sets up a new row
Former Union minister and Bharatiya Janata Party MP from Uttara Kannada Anantkumar Hegde, no stranger to controversies, has stirred up another one by calling BSNL employees ‘traitors’ and ‘anti-nationals’ who would be fired as they refused to work.
In a video of an event in Kumta in his parliamentary constituency on Monday that has been widely shared, the MP was seen saying that the state-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited was a blot on the country as even after being provided money, infrastructure and a ready market, the telco’s employees just refuse to work.
“The only cure for that is privatisation which our government will do. Some 85,000 will be fired and later on more need to be fired,’ he was seen saying in the video.
The opposition Congress criticised Hegde’s remarks, saying the comments only showed his own worth. The party also said that the Centre was out to privatise everything and this indicated its inability to govern.
Hegde has been known to make controversial statements in the past as well.
Earlier this year, he said that the freedom movement led by Mahatma Gandhi was a “drama”, drawing severe criticism from the opposition parties including the Congress which even asked Prime Minister Modi to make his stand clear on Hegde’s remarks. The former minister,however, later sought to down play the controversy, saying he never made any reference to any political party or Mahatma Gandhi and was just trying to “categorise freedom struggle”.
In January 2019, Hegde had called Congress leader Dinesh Gundu Rao as someone who “went after a Muslim lady”, an indirect reference to Rao’s wife Tabassum. A few days later, he was reported to have described then Congress president Rahul Gandhi a “hybrid specimen” who, the BJP leader claimed, had a father who is a Muslim and a mother who is a Christian. Later the same year, he labelled a former IAS officer as a traitor and asked him to go to Pakistan.
In 2018, Hegde had declared that the Constitution would be amended to remove the word ‘secular’ from the preamble, though later he apologised for the comment, saying it had been ‘twisted’.