Karnataka political slugfest stoops to a new low: Congress MLC calls BJP ‘bootlickers of British’

Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshihit back, saying MLC BK Hariprasad was worse than a boot in the Congress.

ByMahesh M Goudar

Published Dec 25, 2023 | 5:41 PMUpdatedDec 25, 2023 | 5:42 PM

Karnataka BJP RSS Bootlickers Congress Hariprasad BJP Union Minister Pralhad Joshi

In a recent exchange of verbal volleys, Karnataka MLC BK Hariprasad took a swipe at the BJP, asserting that those labelling the Congress the “Tipu Sultan party” were nothing more than “bootlickers of the British” during India’s struggle for freedom.

The Congress veteran went on to challenge the BJP to name a single person from Hindutva outfits who sacrificed for the nation during the freedom movement.

He claimed in Hubballi on Sunday, 24 December, that they all supported the British colonial rule.

The MLC firmly declared his party’s allegiance to those who fought against the British and denounced any association with those who sided with the colonial rulers.

Unfazed by Hariprasad’s remarks, Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi promptly fired back, accusing him of being treated worse than a boot within his party.

Joshi argued that Hariprasad’s comments indirectly criticised the current local leadership of the Congress, highlighting internal discord within the party.

The war of words between the two senior political figures underscored the ongoing ideological clashes and political tensions between the Congress and the BJP in Karnataka.

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The ‘bootlicker’ taunt

“The BJP is least bothered about the welfare of farmers and women. The Congress will work as per the wishes of the Constitution. Ours is a secular nation. We have to protect all religions and castes and not appease certain communities,” Hariprasad told reporters in Hubballi on Sunday.

“It is the BJP that is appeasing the majority. They also opposed reservations for minorities and were against a caste census. They are acting as per their masters in Nagpur. We are not the Tipu Sultan party. We are in support of those who fought against the British,” the lawmaker said.

“Around 7 lakh people sacrificed their lives during the freedom struggle. Ask them (BJP) to name one person from the Hindutva party who sacrificed for the country,” Hariprasad challenged the saffron party.

“We opposed those who supported the British. But the BJP’s ancestors were all bootlickers of the British. Let them not teach us whether we should follow Tipu Sultan or someone else,” the Congress leader alleged.

“Anyone labelling our Congress as the Tipu Sultan party is a British bootlicker, and we have no interest in learning from such individuals,” he added.

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Union minister hits back

A day after Hariprasad’s statement, Union Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Pralhad Joshi condemned his statements, saying “Hariprasad is being treated worse than boots in his party.”

“I will not be able to respond in his language. Everyone knows what their party has done since the Emergency,” the BJP leader told reporters at Hubballi on Sunday:

“The grand old party is treating Hariprasad worse than a boot. His remarks were indirectly aimed at the Congress party. He was criticising the local leadership of the Congress because of the way he is being treated,” Joshi remarked.

“Hariprasad is disappointed with the Congress central leadership and thinks that Sonia (Gandhi) will bless him with a Cabinet post if he continues to criticise the RSS and the BJP. He should note that it is Chief Minister Siddaramaiah who can induct him in the Cabinet,” the Union minister said.

“It was the Congress government that lifted the ban on the RSS after Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination by (Nathuram) Godse. Hariprasad, having been an AICC general secretary, should not use unconstitutional and uncultured words,” Joshi averred.

Reacting sharply, BJP senior Dalit leader and former deputy chief minister Govind Karjol said, “Hariprasad has lost mental balance as he has become irrelevant in the Congress party. Hence, he is making such statements and no one should give any importance to it.”

Several other senior BJP leaders condemned Hariprasad’s remarks.