Listen to this article:
New Delhi: The Karnataka assembly speaker and a minister on Thursday claimed that one day, every Indian – including Christians and Muslims – would associate themselves with the RSS, evoking sharp reactions from Congress MLAs.
According to news agency PTI, Karnataka rural development minister and senior BJP leader K.S. Eshwarappa claimed that all Muslims and Christians in the country “will associate themselves with the RSS, someday in the future”.
Speaker Vishweshwar Hegde Kageri used the term “our RSS” and that a day would come when opposition legislators would also say the same.
These statements came after the leader of the opposition and former chief minister Siddaramaiah made a reference to the organisation while speaking about his personal equations with some BJP leaders and ministers.
“Personal relations are important, then comes party differences – BJP, RSS, Congress and others,” the Congress leader said
To this, speaker Kageri asked Siddaramaiah, “Why are you feeling troubled about our RSS?”
As Siddaramaiah was clarifying that he was not speaking by attaching any feelings, Congress MLA Zameer Ahmed Khan asked, “You (speaker) are saying ‘Our RSS’ while sitting on that chair?”
To this Kageri responded by saying, “What else, if not our RSS? Yes… It is our RSS. RSS is ours…. Zameer, I’m telling you one thing, if not today someday in the future, in our country, even you will have to say ‘Our RSS’, definitely.”
To this, some Congress legislators including Khan said, that day would never come and they would never say it.
Siddaramiah said, he too is opposed to RSS, as ‘Manuwad’ (a society governed by the Manusmriti and not the constitution) will be established in the country because of the Hindutva organisation.
Intervening, revenue minister R. Ashoka said, RSS has become “ubiquitous and omnipresent”.
“Our country’s president, vice president, prime minister, [several] chief ministers are all from RSS. Everyone has to accept it now… it is our good fortune,” he pointed out, amidst some Congress legislators calling it the country’s “misfortune”.
Minister Eshwarappa said, “All Muslims and Christians in the country, if not today, someday in the future, will become (associate with) the RSS. There is no doubt about it.”
This statement elicited a sharp reaction from some Congress legislators.
Taking objection to the speaker’s associating himself with the RSS, Congress MLA Priyank Kharge pointed out that he had spoken from the chair about constitutional values during a debate last year. “You had then claimed you are for the constitution, now you are saying that you are in favour of RSS,” he said. He claimed that in the past, members of the RSS had burnt the constitution at the Ramlila Maidan in New Delhi.
(With PTI inputs)