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Former Karnataka minister Araga Jnanendra regrets racist remarks on Kharge

Meanwhile, KPCC Spokesperson Ramesh Babu said Jnanendra’s statement held a mirror to his mindset and to the culture of his party.
Last Updated : 02 August 2023, 21:21 IST
Last Updated : 02 August 2023, 21:21 IST

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Former Karnataka home minister Araga Jnanendra on Thursday expressed regret for his racist remarks Wednesday on AICC president Mallikarjun Kharge.

The Thirthahalli BJP MLA courted controversy during a protest in his constituency against the implementation of the Kasturirangan report.

Attacking the state government, Jnanendra said it was unfortunate that people who came from regions without forests became forest ministers. He was referring to Eshwar Khandre, the current forest minister representing the Bhalki constituency in Bidar. “They don’t know what plants, trees and shades are. They are char (dark). Look at (Mallikarjun) Kharge and you’ll know. The only shade he would have seen is the few hairs on his head,” he said on Wednesday.

Speaking to media persons here, Jnanendra said he did not intend to disrespect the senior Congress leader. “I do not think I am worthy enough to criticise a senior leader like Kharge,” he said. He also clarified that his criticism was directed towards Khandre. He said “Kharge” by slip of the tongue instead of, “Khandre”, Jnanendra said, adding that he had no intention of hurting even Khandre.

Taking objection to his comments, the Congress said it showed the BJP’s anti-Dalit sentiments. This shows Jnanendra and his party’s inclination to Manuvaada and their belief in the caste system. The BJP wants to keep the caste system alive and that has come from Jnanendra’s mouth. If the BJP has any respect towards the people of North Karnataka and Dalits, it must suspend Jnanendra from the party,” Karnataka Congress demanded.

Meanwhile, KPCC Spokesperson Ramesh Babu said Jnanendra’s statement held a mirror to his mindset and to the culture of his party.

“The constituency has seen many greats such as AR Badrinarayan, Shantaveri Gopalagowda, Konanduru Lingappa, DB Chandregowda and Kimmane Ratnakar. It’s a political tragedy that he is the MLA of a constituency that has seen such great leaders,” he said.

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Published 02 August 2023, 16:57 IST

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