The BJP on Wednesday mounted an offensive against the ruling coalition by targeting Cabinet ministers Sa Ra Mahesh of the JD(S) and Priyank Kharge of the Congress, who have both courted controversy.
This comes even as the saffron party is trying to leverage the drunken brawl amongst Congress MLAs and amid an undertone that about half-a-dozen disgruntled Congress MLAs may resign in the coming days, which could threaten the stability of the Congress-JD(S) coalition. Also, the saffron party is set to commence its tour of drought-hit districts, which is said to be a pretence for its attempt to topple the government.
Mahesh, the tourism minister, received flak for his skirmish with former Tumakuru police superintendent Divya Gopinath on Tuesday, the footage of which was aired by news channels on Wednesday. Apparently, he called her a “bloody lady” when she did not allow him to enter the enclosure where Shivakumara Swami’s body was kept.
BJP leader Shobha Karandlaje hit out at Mahesh for “misbehaving” with the woman officer. “The minister (was) seen pulling up the officer when he was prevented from entering the samadhi sthal. Power must make us humble, not arrogant. Such a shame that the CM backs him,” she said in a tweet.
Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy backed Mahesh. “When a Cabinet minister is stopped and small, miscellaneous people are allowed in, it amounts to disrespecting me. But I spoke to the officers, told them they were doing a good job and resolved the issue on the spot. Mahesh did nothing wrong,” he said.
But Kharge did not enjoy the same support from Kumaraswamy. The chief minister expressed ignorance over the conduct of the Constitution seminar.
When it was pointed out that the event continued privately, Kumaraswamy said: “I will look into the matter. But what can be done now?”
BJP demanded Kharge’s resignation for going ahead with a seminar on the Constitution even as the government mourned the seer’s demise.