Belagavi, Dec 19 (IANS): The ruling BJP in Karnataka on Monday unveiled the portrait of freedom fighter Veer Savarkar in the Assembly hall of the Suvarna Vidhana Soudha here, even as the opposition Congress staged a protest against the move.
Savarkar’s portrait was among pictures of seven freedom fighters that were installed in the Assembly hall. The ceremony was carried out in the absence of the Congress leaders and legislators.
Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, Speaker Vishveshwara Hegde Kageri, Law Minister J. Madhuswamy and Minister for Water Resources Govind Karjol and others were present on the occasion.
According to sources, all the four doors of the Assembly were closed during the unveiling ceremony to avoid any eventualities.
BJP MLC N. Ravikumar objected to the Congress opposition saying, “The freedom struggle was not only carried out by the Congress leaders and Nehru.
Veer Savarkar inspired a whole generation of revolutionaries in the country. If not in the Legislative Assembly, Parliament and public places, where else would his picture be installed? Ravikumar questioned.
On Congress statement that if Veer Savarkar’s portrait is installed, they will get the photo of Mysuru ruler Tipu Sultan installed in the Assembly, Ravikumar said, “Tipu Sultan was a fanatic, destroyer of temples. He attempted to replace Kannada by Persian language, he is against the principles of Kempe Gowda (Bengaluru founder) and Kuvempu (celebrated litterateur).
“Let alone Vidhana Soudha, we will not allow his photo to come up anywhere,” he asserted.
Basanagouda Patil Yatnal, BJP MLA, said that Congress leaders have forgotten that Indira Gandhi released the postal stamp of Veer Savarkar and are protesting now. “We will not allow Tipu Sultan’s photo to come up. He was a fanatic,” he said.
Reacting to Congress State President D.K. Shivakumar’s statement that there is no connection between Veer Savarkar and Karnataka, BJP MLA K.S. Eshwarappa questioned the connection between Rahul Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi and Karnataka.
“Shivakumar only knows about Tihar Jail and Bengaluru Central jail. He needs to study about cellular jail and cruel punishment given to freedom fighters in Andamans,” Eshwarappa stated.
The issue of installation of Savarkar’s portrait is likely to result in a rocky winter session.
Karnataka unit of Congress earlier on Monday staged a protest against the state BJP’s decision to install a picture of the controversial freedom fighter Veer Savarkar in the Legislative Assembly at Suvarna Vidhana Soudha here.
Condemning the proposed move of installing Savarkar’s picture right behind the Speakers’ Chair, senior Congress MLAs, including the Opposition leader of Siddaramaiah, state party President D.K. Shivakumar staged a protest in the Assembly.
The protests before the commencement of the session is indicative of a stormy winter session. This is the last session for the ruling BJP as the elections are scheduled to be held in three months.
In a letter, Siddramaiah had urged Speaker Vishveshwara Hegde Kageri to install photographs of social reformers, saints and great personalities like Maharshi Valmiki, Basavanna, Kanakadasa, Shishunala Sharif, Narayanaguru, Ambedkar, Jawahar Lal Nehru, Kuvempu, Vallabh Bhai Patel.
He maintained that through these photographs, legislators and the common public will get inspiration. Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai after arriving in Belagavi commented on the controversy of Veer Savarkar’s photo in Suvarna Soudha maintained that it is the discretion of the Speaker of the house.
CM Bommai also maintained that he would discuss the matter with the Speaker Vishweshwara Hegde Kageri and Siddaramaiah.