New Delhi: The BJP’s decision to promote Laxman Savadi as the deputy chief minister of Karnataka has come under strong criticism from women’s groups and opposition parties. Savadi had gained notoriety in 2012 for watching a pornographic video in the state assembly, after which he and two other BJP ministers – C.C. Patil and Krishna Palemar – were forced to resign. The incident was popularly referred to in the media as “porngate”.
Apart from Savadi’s elevation, Patil has also been chosen as a cabinet minister by chief minister B.S. Yediyurappa, who took oath after the BJP was successful in toppling the Congress-JD(S) coalition. Savadi was unable to win in the assembly elections that were held last year. Patil is the representative of the Nargund constituency.
The All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) strongly criticised the move, saying it shows the “total disrespect” that BJP has for women. Meanwhile, Congress leader and former chief minister Siddaramaiah also slammed the saffron party, saying, “The person who had lost the election has been made the deputy chief minister. BJP does not have shame.”
According to reports, Savadi’s elevation is a “reward” for his successful efforts to convince six Congress-JD(S) MLAs to quit, forcing the coalition into a turmoil.
The AIDWA issued a press release condemning the elevation, saying while “Prime Minister Narendra Modi makes tall claims through the ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ campaign of providing security to women”, the elevation of the two ministers “exposed” the saffron party’s “anti-woman character once again”.
The statement also recounted recent “anti-women” statements made by BJP leaders such as Sunita Singh Gaur, who said Hindu men should gang-rape Muslim women. She was later expelled from the party. The AIDWA also recounted Haryana CM M.L. Khattar’s “joke” on Kashmiri women, and that a BJP MLA had rallied in support of the accused in the Kathua rape and murder case.
“The attempt to murder the Unnao rape victim by the accused BJP MLA Kuldeep Sengar who is at present lodged in the jail shocked everyone. It is extremely disturbing that such people as Savadi are today being promoted to positions of power,” the statement says.
The organisation resolved to “continue its campaign to expose the real anti-women face of the BJP and the Sangh Parivar”.
The full statement has been reproduced below.
AIDWA CONDEMNS THE PROMOTION OF PORN-WATCHING SAVADI AS DEPUTY CM
The All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) strongly condemns the decision of the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) of reinstating and promoting Laxman Savadi in the government. He has shown scant respect for constitutional propriety and women when he was a member of the Karnataka state assembly earlier.
The BJP has once again shown its total disrespect for women by making Laxman Savadi, the Deputy Chief Minister of Karnataka.
Laxman Savadi lost in last year’s state assembly election. Currently, Savadi is neither a member of the Karnataka Legislative assembly or the council.
In 2012, Laxman Savadi, C.C. Patil and Krishna Palemar resigned as Karnataka ministers after they were caught watching porn in the assembly while the proceedings were on. Laxman Savadi said that they were watching it for “educational purposes”, to know more about the rave parties. Seven years later, two of them — Patil and Savadi — are back in the state cabinet.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi makes tall claims through the ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ campaign of providing security to women. It is in fact the opposite. The Manusmruti propagating BJP has exposed its true anti-woman character once again.
There is a long list of BJP leaders who have made derogatory statements against women. Recently, the BJP Mahila Morcha leader, Sunita Singh Gaud had said that Hindu men should make a group of 10 and gang rape Muslim mothers and sisters openly on the streets and then hang them in the middle of the bazaar for others to see. The controversial remark of the Haryana CM Khattar on Kashmiri women exposes the patriarchal culture within the BJP. BJP MLAs were on the roads to prevent the arrest of the accused in the rape and murder of the girl child in Kathua. The attempt to murder the Unnao rape victim by the accused BJP MLA Kuldeep Sengar who is at present lodged in the jail shocked everyone. It is extremely disturbing that such people as Savadi are today being promoted to positions of power.
AIDWA will continue its campaign to expose the real anti-women face of the BJP and the Sangh Parivar.