Karnataka information technology minister Ashwath Narayana and Congress MP DK Suresh almost came to blows in public on Monday while chief minister Basavaraj Bommai, who remained a silent spectator, was sharing the same dais. The incident happened during an event in Ramanagara district.
The event was Bommai’s first function in the district ever since he took over as the chief minister. It was organised by the state government to unveil the statues of Dr B R Ambedkar and Bengaluru founder Nadaprabhu Kempegowda.
Reportedly, the ruckus began when Bommai and Ashwath Narayan took along Ramanagara MLA Anitha Kumaraswamy (JDS), allegedly ignoring Suresh, whose supporters resorted to continuous sloganeering against the government and supporting Shivakumar. As Times of India reported, Narayan indirectly mocked the DK brothers and called them ‘self-serving’ politicians. “If you are a man, show it in your work. No one has done development. It is the BJP government which is doing development. The one who serves people is a nayaka (leader). What do you call the one who serves his self-interest?” he said.
Bommai signalled Ashwath Narayan to stop making the remarks, but it seemed too late by then. Irked over allegations, Suresh, brother of state Congress president DK Shivakumar stood up and angrily rushed to Ashwath Narayan and almost came to blows. The police deployed at the event tried to stop the leaders. Suresh was joined by his relative and Congress MLC S Ravi who snatched the mic from Narayan, however, immediately the situation was brought under control by police. “What is your contribution to the district’s development?” Suresh asked Narayan.
A senior police officer present at the event, who didn’t want to be named, told the Hindustan Times that the problems began when Congress workers and supporters walked onto the stage where CM Bommai was sitting and raised slogans supporting Shivakumar. The workers waved black flags as a sign of opposition to the CM before the event started. However, police officials present at the event cleared them and the function continued.
Without intervening in the scuffle, Bommai urged both of them to calm down and said, “I have come here to contribute to the development of the district. It is possible only when everybody joins hands.” Bommai further assured that in two months, he would lay the foundation stone for the Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences (RGUHS) at Ramanagara. This was also one of the issues that triggered the fight.
After the programme, Congress workers tore the banner and pictures of Narayan in the town, while the BJP workers also protested in front of the DC’s office. Reacting to the incident, JD(S) leader and former chief minister HD Kumaraswamy slammed the Congress MP for his action. “The action of the MP was of a goon. For years, Ramanagara was a peaceful city. If during a government function, in the presence of the chief minister, he could do such a thing, what would happen to the common man?” asked Kumaraswamy.
Condemning the incident, Home minister Araga Jnanendra and said he had sought a police report. “I strongly condemn the uncivilised conduct of Congress workers at Ramanagara. This cannot be tolerated,” he told TOI.
With inputs from News18