Karnataka: Rahul Gandhi deems BJP a ‘coloniser’; bats for ‘regional pride’ in Siddaramaiah birthday speech

The ‘coloniser’ jibe comes at a time Rahul Gandhi is preparing to embark on a nationwide padayatra on Gandhi Jayanthi this year.

ByAnusha Ravi Sood

Published Aug 04, 2022 | 1:49 AMUpdatedAug 04, 2022 | 10:52 AM

Rahul Gandhi along with Siddaramaiah, DK Shivakumar and other Congress leader at Davanagere during Siddaramaiah's 75th birthday celebrations. Supplied

Regional pride is the flavour of this election season in the southern states and the Congress in Karnataka seems to have conveyed the same to its leaders in New Delhi.

With 15 August, marking the 75th anniversary of India’s independence from British rule, barely a week away, former AICC president and senior Congress MP Rahul Gandhi deemed the BJP a “coloniser”.

“We believe in the culture, language and tradition of Karnataka. For us, your language, your culture, your history are fundamental for the future of India. We believe that all the languages, all the histories, and all the cultures of this country make India,” Rahul Gandhi told lakhs of people gathered for Siddaramaiah’s birthday celebrations in Davangere on Wednesday, 3 August.

BJP as a ‘coloniser’

“The BJP wants to impose one idea on top of Karnataka. They want to colonise Karnataka,” he added.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi at tricolour manufacturing unit of Karnataka Khadi Gramodyoga Samyukta Sangha at Hubballi-Dharwad

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi at the tricolour manufacturing unit of the Khadi Gramodyoga Samyukta Sangha at Hubballi-Dharwad. (Supplied)

Rahul Gandhi’s “coloniser” jibe at the BJP comes at a time the party and its government in Karnataka are under constant criticism for unquestioningly toeing the line of its New Delhi leadership.

Rahul Gandhi’s insistence on respecting Karnataka’s “culture”, “language” and “tradition” also comes at a time language rights campaigners in Karnataka have been protesting against Hindi imposition, and the glorification of non-Kannada icons like Chhatrapathi Shivaji over Kannada icons like Immadi Pulakeshi.

The BJP chief minister promising to emulate a “Yogi style” of governance in Karnataka too has done little to help the party that often finds itself on the backfoot on issues of regional identity and pride, caught as it is in the “Hindu, Hindi, Hindustan” narrative of the BJP.

Interestingly, Rahul Gandhi’s jibe comes ahead of a planned nationwide padayatra that he will embark on from 2 October — Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi at Chitradurga's Murugharajendra Matha receiving 'Linga Dharane' from seer Sri Shivamurthy Murugha Swami. (Supplied)

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi at Chitradurga’s Murugharajendra Matha receiving ‘linga dharana’ from seer Sri Shivamurthy Murugha Swami. (Supplied)

Earlier in the day, Rahul Gandhi visited the only licensed manufacturing unit of khadi national flags, the Khadi Gram Udyoga in Benkeri in Hubballi-Dharward. The Narendra Modi government’s decision to amend the Flag Code and allow import of flags “from China” as well as the use of polyester national flags for the “Har Ghar Tiranga” campaign, has caused severe distress to this tricolour manufacturing unit.

Hours before he delivered his speech, replete with social reformer and philosopher Basavanna’s teachings, Rahul Gandhi visited the famous Murugharajendra Matha in Chitradurga.

The seer of the matha — Sri Shivamurthy Murugha Swami — performed a “linga dharana” for Rahul Gandhi.