Savarkar Portrait Unveiled in Karnataka Assembly, Congress Leaders Protest

Congress leaders alleged that the BJP government is attempting to divert attention away from real issues by stoking controversy.

New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party government in Karnataka has put up a portrait of Vinayak Savarkar in the state assembly, leading to protests from opposition parties on the steps outside the building.

The protest was lead by former chief minister and Congress leader Siddaramaiah, NDTV reported. Today (December 19) is the first day of 10-day winter session of the state assembly.

“I am not against putting up of anyone’s portrait. The government wants to divert the attention of the people from real issues like law & order. It is not a protest, it is our demand to put portraits of all national leaders and social reformers (in the Karnataka assembly hall). The speaker has unilaterally taken a decision to put up Veer Savarkar’s portrait in the assembly,” Times of India quoted Siddaramaiah as saying.

Also read: ‘Savarkar and Hindu Mahasabha Stayed Firmly Outside the Freedom Movement’

“They want that our assembly proceedings should not take place. They want it disrupted. They have brought this photo because we are going to raise a lot of corruption issues against them. They don’t have any development agenda,” Karnataka Congress chief and MLA D.K. Shivakumar told ANI.

When asked about the protests, chief minister Basavaraj Bommai reportedly claimed that the decision was taken by the speaker. “What happens inside the assembly is decided by the speaker. I will talk to our leaders and the opposition as well,” Hindustan Times quoted him as saying.

While the BJP has been keen to portray Savarkar as a freedom fighter and even a “brave revolutionary“, historians have pointed out that Savarkar “not only refrained from participating in the freedom struggle after the British released him from prison on account of his relentless pleas for mercy, but also actively collaborated with the English rulers to whom he had declared his loyalty”.