Bengaluru: Amid high-voltage electioneering in poll-bound Karnataka, a defamation case has been filed against Karnataka`s Leader of Opposition and Congress stalwart Siddaramaiah over his alleged statement on corruption practiced by Lingayat Chief Ministers in the state. According to reports, the defamation suit against Siddaramaiah has been filed by activist Shankar Sait at the Magistrate court in Bengaluru on Tuesday. The court, after accepting his petition, adjourned the matter to April 29.
A complaint had also been registered against the Congress leader with the Election Commission in this regard already. The statement that Lingayat CMs indulged in corruption and destroyed the state has stirred controversy ahead of the May 10 Assembly elections. The Lingayat Yuva Vedike Legal Cell, which had lodged a complaint with the Election Commission, claimed that Siddaramaiah had insulted the Lingayat community and defamed it.
Siddaramaiah Clarifies On Lingayat CM Remark
Siddaramaiah had clarified after a row over his remarks. He said that he meant to say Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, who is the present CM, is indulged in corruption and destroyed the state and he didn’t mean to comment about others. The Congress leader said that his remarks were “twisted and misinterpreted” by the BJP.
“My comments referred only to Bommai. I only said Basavaraj Bommai alone is corrupt. I didn’t say Lingayats are corrupt. Therefore, making such a sweeping report is inappropriate. There have been very honest Lingayat chief ministers. There was S. Nijalingappa, Virendra Patil and others for whom I have a lot of respect as they were very honest chief ministers. My comments have been twisted and misinterpreted by the BJP,” he said.
Shettar Defends Siddaramaiah
Meanwhile, Congress leader Jagadish Shettar, who is a candidate from Karnataka`s Hubli-Dharwad-Central constituency, defended LoP Siddaramaiah`s “Corrupt Lingayat Chief Minister” remark and said that the comment was aimed at CM Basavaraj Bommai and not on all Lingayats. CMs.
“His comment was only on the present CM Bommai and not all Lingayat CMs. He did not comment on other Lingayat CMs”, Shettar told news agency ANI.
BJP Steps Up Attack On Siddaramaiah
The BJP has also made it a big poll issue in the state and used it as a weapon to control the damage caused by the exit of former Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar and Deputy Chief Minister Laxman Savadi. Union Minister Pralhad Joshi demanded an apology from former Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah over his remark where he mentioned that `Lingayat CM had done corruption` in the state adding that it is an insult to Karnataka. Joshi said, “The statement where he mentioned that Lingayat Chief Ministers are corrupt is condemnable. This is an insult to Karnataka. We demand that Siddaramaiah should apologize for this”.
Shettar became the second senior leader from the Lingayat community to leave the ruling BJP and join the Congress in less than a week. Earlier, former Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister Laxman Savadi joined the Congress. The BJP has fielded Mahesh Tenginkai against the Shettars for the seat in the upcoming polls.
The 224-seat Assembly polls are slated to take place in a single phase on May 10 and results will be declared on May 13.