Revanna fires crude salvo at Sumalatha on Women's Day

Revanna fires crude salvo at Sumalatha on Women's Day

PWD Minister H D Revanna. DH file photo

Public Works Minister H D Revanna’s disparaging remarks against Sumalatha Ambareesh, wife of the late actor-politician Ambareesh, questioning what he termed her haste in entering the political fray within months of losing her husband, drew widespread flak on Friday.

“According to Hindu customs and rituals, after the husband’s death, the widow should avoid going out of the house for some time. She lost her husband recently. Why is she in such a hurry to enter politics?” he told reporters in New Delhi, a remark that caused outrage. Friday happened to be International Women’s Day.

Sumalatha has expressed her inclination to contest from Mandya in the Lok Sabha election where JD(S) is planning to field Nikhil, son of Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy.

Criticising Sumalatha’s political ambitions, the minister said, “When Ambareesh died, Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy attended the last rites considering him a member of his own family. Now, Sumalatha has posed a challenge to the JD(S) by announcing her inclination to contest from Mandya.” Revanna, who was here to attend the foundation laying function of Karnataka Bhavan, had more to say.

“All these years, Sumalatha acted in movies. Now, she wants to come to act in politics. Let her contest elections. We will take up the challenge,” Revanna said.

However, the chief minister disapproved of his brother’s statement. “I appeal to all not to make any comments against opponents. All eligible candidates are free to contest any election,” he said.

Refusing to be drawn into a controversy, Sumalatha said, “I don’t want to give credence to these cheap comments with my reply — I don’t want to stoop to their level.” She said that by targeting her in this manner, JD(S) leaders were exposing their own mentality, culture and their upbringing.

“It reflects on them, not on me. The people of Mandya, including hardcore JD(S) followers, are furious. When you are in a position of power, it’s not okay for you to talk like this. You are sending out a signal on the way women should be treated. Targeting a candidate based on gender is not acceptable. I don’t want to resort to their style. This is not my cup of tea,” she said.

Later in the day, Revanna said he did not say anything derogatory and refused to apologise.

BJP state president B S Yeddyurappa said: “Such statements are uncalled for. It is unbecoming of a minister.”