Congress leaders’ discussion on Patel triggers row in Karnataka

A month-old purported video of a conversation between Karnataka former chief minister Siddaramaiah and state Congress chief DK Shivakumar sparked a political slugfest as Siddramaiah seems to persuade Shivakumar to get a portrait of Sardar Vallabhai Patel on his birth anniversary, which was on October 31
In a conversation caught on camera, senior Congress leader Siddaramaiah is heard informing Karnataka Congress chief DK Shivakumar about Sardar Patel’s birth anniversary and suggesting a photo be placed next to Indira Gandhi during an event in Bengaluru. (ANI)
In a conversation caught on camera, senior Congress leader Siddaramaiah is heard informing Karnataka Congress chief DK Shivakumar about Sardar Patel’s birth anniversary and suggesting a photo be placed next to Indira Gandhi during an event in Bengaluru. (ANI)
Published on Nov 25, 2021 12:18 AM IST
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ByHT Correspondent, Bengaluru

A month-old purported video of a conversation between Karnataka former chief minister Siddaramaiah and state Congress chief DK Shivakumar sparked a political slugfest as Siddramaiah seems to persuade Shivakumar to get a portrait of Sardar Vallabhai Patel on his birth anniversary, which was on October 31.

The incident took place during an event organised at the Bengaluru party office to mark the death anniversary of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on October 31, also the birth anniversary of Sardar Patel.

In a conversation caught on camera, senior leader Siddaramaiah is heard informing Shivakumar about Patel’s birth anniversary and suggesting a photo be placed next to Gandhi. Shivakumar is heard saying “we never do this”, to which, Siddaramaiah replied: “BJP will take advantage of this.” Little later, a portrait of Patel is placed alongside that of Indira Gandhi.

Soon after the alleged video went viral on social media, BJP leaders took to Twitter to accuse the Congress party of insulting Patel.

“If anyone had a doubt how much the Nehru Dynasty hated Sardar Patel, this video clears it. CONgress leaders @siddaramaiah & @DKShivakumar agree to place a photo of Sardar Patel along with that of Indira Gandhi fearing BJP. It is a shame that Slaves are so much scared of an Italian,” CT Ravi, the national general secretary of the BJP, said in a post on Twitter.

“Leaked voices of top Karnataka Congress leaders during a Press briefing exposes the typical “Dynastic” mindset of the party where tall leaders like Sardar Patel are pulled out of “Store Rooms” lest the BJP doesn’t take political benefit out of the situation,” Sambit Patra, the BJP national spokesperson also posted, with the hashtag #CongressInsultsPatel.

He added that the Congress party never think beyond the ‘Gandhis’. “The Congress can never think beyond the “Gandhis” ..for them, it’s the Family over Subash Bose, Sardar Patel & Baba Saheb Ambedkar. BJP never appropriated Sardar Patel...Since the Congress rejected the Sardar, we gave due place to the “Iron Man” of India,” Patra said in his two-part tweet.

Later in the day, Shivakumar hit back at the BJP’s criticism, saying, “Let them (BJP) show whether they have celebrated Vallabhai Patel’s birthday in Karnataka. Since he was a Congress president and banned the RSS, they (BJP) never do it. We, Congressmen, have a lot of respect for him, and we do it every year. We wanted to do a separate programme.”

“In no offices do they celebrate Vallabhai Patel’s birth anniversary? It is only Congress which does. Indira Gandhi is separate from the Congress party. Her contribution, sacrifice for the nation, and integrity of this country is different compared to Vallabhai Patel. But still, he is our leader, our president, he is the Iron Man, and we spoke and decided let us have a separate programme for him,” he added.

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Wednesday, January 19, 2022