HD Kumaraswamy under fire for ‘women going wayward’ comment; KSWC slaps notice

Heavily criticised for his comments against women while dissing Congress’ guarantees, HD Kumaraswamy attempted to justify his stance.

ByMahesh M Goudar

Published Apr 15, 2024 | 7:50 PMUpdatedApr 17, 2024 | 10:27 PM

Karnataka BJP-JD(S) HD Kumaraswamy Congress Guarantee Schemes Women

In a hurry to criticise the Congress’ five guarantees, JD(S) state president and former CM HD Kumaraswamy landed in a fresh controversy on Monday for reportedly making derogatory remarks against women in Tumakuru on Saturday.

His remarks on women, especially beneficiaries of the guarantee schemes, came while he was campaigning for BJP nominee V Somanna at Turvekere in Tumakuru on Saturday, 13 April.

Since Sunday evening, a video of Kumaraswamy’s remarks on women and guarantees has gone viral on social networking sites.

On Sunday, the Karnataka State Women’s Commission (KSWC) registered a suo-moto case against the former Chief Minister.

In the latest development, the Congress’ Karnataka unit has decided to file a complaint against Kumaraswamy with the Election Commission of India (ECI).

Stating it as an insult to mothers and sisters of Karnataka, KPCC Chief and Deputy CM DK Shivakumar sought an explanation from the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi for making an alliance with Kumaraswamy, who ‘disrespects’ women.

Responding to the criticism, Kumaraswamy asserted that he did not insult women. “I will express grief if my statement has caused pain to our mothers,” added the former CM.

Also read: Farmer injured in tiger attack

Kumaraswamy lands in controversy

Despite his conditional apology, the video has gone viral. It is only 26 seconds long. Kumaraswamy is heard saying, “Today, because the government announced the five guarantee schemes during the last elections, our mothers in villages have gone wayward.”

“They have to think what will happen to their lives. You (women) should also think about what happens to your family.” Kumaraswamy.

BJP state president BY Vijayendra and Tumakuru nominee V Somanna had accompanied Kumaraswamy during the poll rally in Turavekere.

It may be noted that Kumaraswamy is contesting the elections as an NDA candidate from the Mandya Lok Sabha constituency.

Related: PM showers praise on Deve Gowda

I have not disrespected any women: HD Kumaraswamy

Two days after the remarks, on Monday, Kumaraswamy reiterated that he did not disrespect women during his speech at the Tumakuru rally.

Kumaraswamy held a press conference at the party headquarters in Bengaluru, accompanied by JD(S) women wing leaders.

Kumaraswamy told reporters, “In the campaign rally, I spoke about the guarantee schemes but did not insult any women.”

He claimed to have been cautioning women instead: “I had cautioned about women getting attracted to guarantees and voting for Congress, resulting in looting of state resources and increasing debt. This has been twisted.”

He shifted attention to how Congress raises money to fund its guarantees. He said, “I was told that they give ₹2,000 (to beneficiaries of Gruha Lakshmi Yojana) but pick ₹5,000 from the pockets of the working class (to fund these guarantees). It is because I respected women that I banned illicit liquor (when he was CM). I was tired by the lure of crores of rupees offered to me, and I remained firm on my decision to ban illicit liquor.”

Kumaraswamy repeatedly talked about his innate respect for women: “I have not used any offensive or derogatory words against women. I have addressed all the gathered women as ‘mothers’. The words that I have used are not bad-mannered. Don’t we tell children at home not to go off-track? How will this be wrong?”

He called the controversy a result of the Congress playing cheap tricks. “I have turned out to be a big challenge for the Congress. Therefore, they are using such cheap tricks against me. I appeal to all the Congress’ women wing workers not to protest amid soaring mercury levels.”

Also read: Too many lacunae in BBMP scheme

Karnataka State Women’s Commission issues notice to HDK

Meanwhile, the Karnataka State Women’s Commission issued notice to Kumaraswamy on Monday and registered a suo-moto case against him.

On the condition of anonymity, an official from KSWC told South First: “Based on the viral video, KSWC has taken a suo-moto complaint. His remarks hurt women’s sentiments, respect, and character.”

Regarding the show cause, he said: “We also served notice on Monday morning and sought his reply regarding his remarks and why the action should not be initiated against him.”

Kumaraswamy said that he had not yet received the notice. “Let them send the notice, I will reply to it.”

Related: No violation in Bengaluru South home voting

HDK has not insulted women but humankind: DK Shivakumar

Reacting to the controversial remarks, KPCC chief and Deputy CM DK Shivakumar sought an explanation from the Prime Minister for having an alliance with leaders like Kumaraswamy.

While addressing the party workers, Shivakumar said: “Women are given first priority in our religion and culture. We worship village deities in our villages. But former Chief Minister Kumaraswamy is talking very lightly about them.”

“Kumaraswamy says that girls in the village are going astray due to guarantee schemes. There is nothing more painful than this. It’s not just for women; it’s an insult for mankind,” charged the Deputy CM.

Shivakumar claimed he was not expecting an apology from Kumaraswamy and said that’s why they sought an explanation from the Prime Minister.

He took the opportunity to defend the guarantees: “Whatever your personal opinion is, I will not discuss it. But our Congress government implemented Gruha Lakshmi, Gruha Jyoti, Anna Bhagya, Shakti, Yuva Nidhi guarantee schemes so that our mothers should build their lives and not starve.”

Shivakumar said that Congress would never play politics with the people’s emotions, explaining: “Students who scored well in PUC exams recently said that Congress party’s guarantee schemes helped them. Students’ parents say that our guarantee schemes are helping their children get a better education.”

The state unit of the Congress will also file a complaint against Kumaraswamy before the ECI.