Bommai reacts sharply to Priyank Kharge statements, says it is ‘reverse-gear government’ in Karnataka

Priyank Kharge said the current regime would review all policies of the previous regime and withdraw those that hit Karnataka's progress.

ByMahesh M Goudar

Published May 25, 2023 | 8:25 PMUpdatedMay 25, 2023 | 8:26 PM

Priyank Kharge taking oath as minister in Siddaramaiah Cabinet in May, 2023. (File Photo)

Terming the Siddaramaiah-led dispensation in Karnataka a reverse-gear government, former chief minister Basavaraj Bommai on Thursday, 25 May, condemned minister Priyank Kharge’s statement that the orders and laws passed by the previous regime under the BJP would be revised or revoked.

“The statements about arbitrarily changing the previous BJP government’s legislations after coming to power are arrogance,” Bommai told reporters in Hubballi.

He warned the government of legal and political action if it meted out any injustice to the people.

“The new government will indulge in appeasement politics. They have the power. Let’s see what they will do. But if the people face any injustice, we will fight both legally and politically,” the former chief minister said.

On Wednesday, Kharge said orders and laws that were against the state’s interest and economic progress would be reviewed and, if necessary, revised or withdrawn.

“The order and legislation enforced under the previous BJP regime, like textbook revisions and anti-conversion laws, which are against the state’s interest would be revised or withdrawn by the new Congress government after reviewing them,” the minister said.

Also read: Will end moral policing, says new Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah

What could go?

Priyank Kharge, son of AICC president Mallikarjun Kharge, said all policy matters of the previous government would be relooked.

“The BJP government had decided to observe certain birth anniversaries of prominent figures and left out others,” he said, adding that revisions made in textbooks, anti-cow slaughter, and anti-conversion bills, too, would be reviewed.

Kharge said the move to withdraw the legislation was to make the state once again the number one priority.

Legislation such as the Karnataka Protection of Right to Freedom of Religion Act, 2022, popularly known as the anti-conversion law, the ban on hijab, the Karnataka Prevention of Cow Slaughter and Cattle Preservation Act, 1964, and the revision of textbooks were all enforced during Bommai’s tenure.

Also read: ‘No mistake in banning outfits involved in hate politics’

‘Outfits disrupting peace will be banned’

Priyank Kharge said that the Congress government would ban religious outfits such as the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Bajrang Dal, and the PFI, which try to disrupt peace, spread communal hatred, and bring disrepute to the state.

“Any organisation, either religious, political or social, sowing seeds of discontent and disharmony in Karnataka will not be tolerated,” he said.

“We will tackle them legally and constitutionally. We will not hesitate to ban them if they threaten the law and order in Karnataka,” Kharge told a news agency.

BJP national general secretary CT Ravi responded to Kharge’s statement. “Realising that they will not be able to implement any of the guarantees announced during the polls, Congress leaders are talking about banning RSS and Bajrang Dal,” he said.

Ravi accused the “incompetent” Congress of diverting the people’s attention instead of focusing on governance.

It may be recalled that after Congress had announced in its poll manifesto that if voted to power, it would ban Bajrang Dal, among other outfits.

Even Prime Minister Narendra Modi attacked the Congress on this issue in one of his campaign rallies in Karnataka.

Amnesty India wants hijab ban revoked

Amnesty India has asked the Siddaramaiah-led Karnataka government to revoke the ban on hijab in education institutions and repeal the discriminatory provisions in the anti-cow-slaughter bill and anti-conversion bill.

Amnesty India said in a series of tweets: “The incoming government must prioritize and uphold human rights for all in the state. We call on the Congress to take three priority actions for human rights. [sic]”

It added: “Immediately revoke the ban on women wearing hijabs in education institutions. The ban forces Muslim girls to choose between their rights to freedom of expression and religion, and their right to education, hindering their ability to meaningfully participate in society.”

It also appealed to review and repeal discriminatory provisions such as the Karnataka Prevention of Slaughter and Preservation of Cattle Act of 2020 and the Karnataka Protection of Right to Freedom of Religion Bill of 2022.

“Ahead of the state elections, calls for an economic boycott and violence against Muslim people were made with impunity. Ensure accountability for such advocacy of hatred and end hate crimes that are motivated by religious and caste-based discrimination,” Amnesty India tweeted.