Bengaluru, Nov 4 (IANS): With numerous police cases registered against those who criticised Siddaramaiah in Karnataka, the debate regarding the Chief Minister being intolerant to criticism has come to the fore.
Former Chief Ministers BS Yediyurappa and Basavaraj Bommai have been repeatedly making statements to the effect that the present government is intolerant to criticism and is using the police department to hush up people and the Opposition.
The authorities have booked cases against people, including BJP MLA Harish Poonja, for taking a dig at the CM and the Congress government. Surprisingly, the authorities have not spared Congress leaders also.
However, experts state that during the tenure of the BJP government in Karnataka, when the Congress launched its “Pay CM” campaign against then Chief Minister Bommai, the Congress leaders were also dealt with ruthlessly by the police.
FIRs were registered against the Congress leaders and those who had posters in their hands were dragged out from the processions by the police.
Recently, the Karnataka police department filed an FIR against BJP MLA from the Belthangady seat Harish Poonja for putting up a poster on social media and calling Siddaramaiah a “collection master” in the last week of October.
A complaint was registered in this regard by the former Zilla Panchayat member Shekar Kekkedi and the FIR was registered under IPC Sections 504 and 505 (2).
The poster was shared on all social media platforms as part of the BJP’s campaign against the Congress party following the seizure of Rs 100 crore by the I-T department in Bengaluru and Poonja had shared a similar post on his social media.
In another case, Congress Spokesperson Surya Mukundaraj had filed a complaint with the High Grounds police station in Bengaluru on October 21 for posting objectionable and humiliating posters of Siddaramaiah and the Mysuru Dasara celebrations on the Facebook account ‘Hindustani Sena.’
A photo of Siddaramaiah was morphed and the body of the mythological demon king Mahishasura was affixed to the Chief Minister’s face. The accused had given an objectionable tagline to the photo.
Surya Mukundaraj, who is also the legal cell General Secretary, had demanded action against the accused Srinivas Murthy, a resident of Tumakuru. This was done as the Congress Government was accused of giving tacit support to the celebration of Mahisha Dasara.
Melukote Police registered a suo moto FIR against Congress leader Mohan Lingeshwar, a farmer president of the Gram Panchayat for criticising the Congress government over implementation of the Griha Laxmi scheme. He has been booked under IPC 504 and 507.
Mohan had attacked Siddaramaiah and Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar saying that they are misguiding people in the name of guarantee schemes. He had made a selfie video on how even as the free power scheme is on, he had got a Rs 800 power bill. He had used objectionable language against both leaders.
In another case, a complaint was filed regarding creation of an objectionable post against Siddaramaiah in Dakshina Kannada district. Mohammad Nandavara, General Secretary, Pane Mangaluru Block Congress had lodged a complaint in this regard.
The complaint was lodged against Somana Gouda as the accused had shared embarrassing pictures of Siddaramaiah on the ‘Jai Karnataka’ WhatsApp group. The police are investigating the case.
Poonja told IANS, “This is a government pursuing hate politics and it is an establishment which is killing democracy. Not even representatives of people are spared and cases are lodged to hush them up.”
“I hail from an agricultural family. My work is always aimed towards the betterment of the common man. Even after this, officers are used to lodge a complaint. This is done to sideline our struggle,”Poonja added.
“Questioning and fighting for rights is ingrained in me. I will continue my struggle for the common people even if a hundred cases are lodged against me. The agitation will continue against this government in order to give justice to the people,” he maintained.
“I will go to get the FIR lodged against me quashed,” he added.
“Siddaramaiah called me a bachcha (child). I may be younger to him but people from my constituency have elected me for the second time after acknowledging my service and development of the constituency. If the Chief Minister is talking about an MLA it means that Siddaramaiah is scared of Poonja,” he maintained.
Senior journalist B Samiulla explained that the media worked as the mouthpiece of the BJP in the past. “Hate was spread in the state and the trend was noted by the Congress. Poonja was one of them. Then it was the BJP government and action was not initiated. Now, action has to be taken against hate mongers and the government is acting against them. The government will have to stop the hate campaign and it has to be stopped and there is no need for tolerating it and if legal action is initiated the trend will subside,” he stated.
Former Indian Army officer and ex-BJP MLC Captain Ganesh Karnik told IANS that Siddaramaiah was intolerant towards the majority community. “He came to attend a programme by the World Bunts Association in Mangaluru recently. He refused to accept the shawl and the turban on stage, this is the limit of intolerance. He doesn’t allow anyone to put tilak on his forehead. He removes it,” he said.
“He (Siddaramaiah) does not have respect for people’s faith. He enters the temple after eating non-vegetarian food. When he knows that after eating non-vegetarian food you are not supposed to enter a temple then why does he do so. This is his arrogance and he also makes light of eating beef,” he added.
“He is absolutely arrogant and intolerant towards the majority community. He is projecting himself as the leader of a certain section of society which is not correct. Being a CM and senior politician, he should look at the entire state as one unit and every citizen as children of the state,” he said.