BENGALURU: Senior BJP leader Umesh Katti’s statement accusing his party leaders of not allowing him to attend Lingayat conventions has caused a major embarrassment to the party.Though senior BJP leaders jumped to Katti’s defence by stating that the former minister was quoted out of context, the Congress was quick to point out the differences within BJP.
In an interview to a private television channel, Katti had reportedly used unparliamentary language against his party leaders and accused them of not allowing him to be part of the campaign demanding separate religion status for Lingayats. Katti had stated that he supports the demand, but his party is not allowing him to be part of the campaign.
The former minister’s view on the issue is contrary to the party’s stand. By the time he issued a clarification and senior BJP leader Jagadish Shettar came to his defence the damage was done. “I have spoken to Katti over phone. His statement was twisted by a section of the media. In BJP, leaders believe both Lingayat and Veerashaiva are same. Even he has been convinced,’’ Shettar said.
In Bengaluru, KPCC president G Parameshwara told mediapersons that Katti’s statement was the latest proof that all was not well within the BJP. Many BJP leaders still do not accept B S Yeddyurappa as their leader and differences within BJP will definitely have an impact on the party in the 2018 assembly elections.
“If a leader like Katti has made such a statement, we have to trust him,’’ Parameshwara said. Katti’s statements came as a jolt to the BJP as the Congress is said to be making efforts to get him into the party ahead of the 2018 elections. “He might have discussed it with the Chief Minister but it has not come to my notice. If Katti is willing to join Congress, it will be discussed with Congress leaders in Belagavi. We welcome him to Congress,’’ he said. BJP leader Shettar, however, said Katti is not leaving the party.
the Karnataka BJP found itself on the receiving end on Friday when their own sitting MLA caught on camera abusing top leaders for their attempts to suppress leaders from openly venting their feelings.
Leaving the saffron party in an embarrassing situation, MLA from Hukkeri in Belagavi Umesh V Katti not only used the term haramkhor while describing BJP leaders, but also alleged that he has been directed not to take part in the movement demanding a separate religion tag for the Lingayat community.
A video clip of Katti abusing the top leadership of Karnataka BJP has gone viral in which Katti has openly confessed that BJP leaders prevented him from taking part in Lingayat rallies even though he supported the movement for a separate religion status for Lingayats.
The video reportedly recorded in his hometown Bellada Bagewadi by a section of the local media revealed that Katti was not happy with the BJP leadership. Adding to the controversy, CM Siddaramaiah had also recently met Katti at his home and exchanged pleasantries with him. Political circles were abuzz with the talk that Katti is likely to join Congress led by Siddaramaiah—his one-time companion in Janata Dal.
“These ‘haramkhor’ BJP leaders are not letting me taking part in lingayat rallies. I am proud that I have born as lingayat and die as lingayat. I will not say I am a Hindu. As they instructed me not to attend the rallies, I did not take part in them,” Katti reportedly said in the video clip.
Barely a few hours after the video went viral on social media circles, Katti resorted to a damage control exercise and clarified that he did not mean to hurt anybody’s sentiments. “It is a commonly used expletive in our villages and often considered an adjective. Hence neither the people, nor any of my party leaders should attach any meaning to it.”
On rumours about his plans to defect to Congress, Katti said, “How many times should I testify on this matter? I have been made victim for the TRP game of the media. If I were to quit BJP, why should I actively involve myself in organising the recent Parivarthan Rally? I know Siddaramaiah personally and we have met casually. But that does not mean I am joining the Congress.”
Though Katti has clarified on the issue, the rumours gained momentum when Siddaramaiah said last week that several BJP MLAs are in touch with him to join Congress.