A BJP MLA in Karnataka has asked the voters to decide if they wanted to vote for Allah or Rama in the upcoming assembly elections. Speaking at a rally in Kalladka village in Bantwal, BJP MLA Sunil Kumar responded to comments made by a minister reportedly crediting his successive wins in elections to Allah and Muslims, reported News18.
Kumar, who represents the Karkala in the assembly, also termed the election to Bantwal, in the communally-sensitive Dakshina Kannada district, as a “question of Hindu self-esteem,” reported PTI.
Kumar said, “This election is a question of Hindu self-esteem. I read in the paper and I was surprised, a legislator who got elected from this constituency for six times has said that he has won because of the grace of Allah.”
Assembly elections in Karnataka are due early this in April or May this year. Kumar made the remarks reacting to recent comments made by Bantwal MLA and minister Ramanatha Rai crediting his successive victories from the constituency to the grace of Allah and secular credentials of the Muslim community there.
Rai had reportedly said, “if I have got an opportunity to become legislator from Bantwal assembly constituency for six times, it is because of the grace of Allah and secular stand of Muslim community here.”
Kumar was further quoted by PTI, “I request friends here, the election here is not between Rajesh Naik (BJP) and Ramanatha Rai; it is an election between Allah and Rama. Whom, Bantwal wants it has to be decided. Whether we will repeatedly make Allah win or will we make a person who loves Rama win, people of Bantwal has to decide.”
Kumar’s comments will trigger more controversies in the communally sensitive south Karnataka, which has seen many clashes in the past. In the just concluded Gujarat elections, the BJP had played Hindutva card by making statements to polarise votes along the lines of their faiths.