A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his final election rally before the May 10 Karnataka elections, accused the Congress of openly advocating for “separating” Karnataka from India, the Bharatiya Janata Party has written to the Election Commission of India demanding “immediate and firm” action against Congress and its former president Sonia Gandhi for her “sovereignty” remark at a poll rally.
“The Congress will not allow anyone to pose a threat to Karnataka’s reputation, sovereignty or integrity,” a May 6 tweet by the Congress quoted Sonia Gandhi, which evoked sharp attacks by the BJP and the PM.
CPP Chairperson Smt. Sonia Gandhi ji sends a strong message to 6.5 crore Kannadigas:
“The Congress will not allow anyone to pose a threat to Karnataka’s reputation, sovereignty or integrity.” pic.twitter.com/W6HjKYWjLa
— Congress (@INCIndia) May 6, 2023
“Such a tweet is well-considered evil design to provoke the staunch nationalists, peace-loving, progressive and globally recognised people of Karnataka. The intent apparently is to disturb the equanimity, harmony and peace that obtains in Karnataka just to garner the votes and support of some select communities or groups, whose sole purpose and intent is to disrupt the very being of the Indian State,” the BJP said in its letter to the poll body.
It further said the grand old party’s “general and emerging impression” is one of a party that always sides with forces that are inimical and opposed to the Indian state.
Calling Mrs Gandhi’s remark “unfortunate and inappropriate”, the BJP said even remotely suggesting secession to the people of Karnataka, “who were at the forefront of India’s Independence movement and who have post-independence led in the fields of art, culture, education, industry & trade”, amounts to insulting and humiliating them.
“Karnataka is a very important member state in the Union of India and any call to protect the sovereignty of a member State of the Union of India amounts to a call for secession and is fraught with perilous & pernicious consequences,” the BJP letter said, detaining generally accepted essentials of a sovereign state.
Sonia Gandhi’s call to protect the sovereignty of Karnataka follows a pattern of “mischievous and intentional indiscretions” committed by the Congress party, the BJP said, accusing it of supporting secessionist bodies or movements like the banned Popular Front of India (PFI) or “tukde tukde gang”.
BJP demanded that the Election Commission revoke the registration of the party “that acts in clear violation of the mandatory Oath of upholding the Sovereignty, Unity & Integrity of India” and appropriate preventive and punitive action in accordance with the Model Code of Conduct.
Describing Mrs Gandhi’s statement as “shocking and unacceptable”, Union Minister Shobha Karandlaje, who filed the complaint, said she had violated provisions of the Model Code of Conduct and requested the EC to take stringent action against her for making “such a statement”.
Karandlaje, Convener of the BJP Election Management Committee, also requested the EC to issue direction to register FIR against her and take exemplary punitive action.
“This is an insult to freedom fighters from Karnataka, who fought for India’s independence. It is an insult to crores of patriotic Kannadigas, who swear by India and cherish their Indian-ness,” said the Union Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare.
A BJP delegation led by Union Minister Bhupendra Yadav, Jitendra Singh, BJP General Secretary Tarun Chugh, National Chief Spokesperson Anil Baluni, and Om Pathak from the BJP’s central disciplinary committee met the Election Commission today to submit this letter.
PM Modi had at a public meeting in Mysuru district yesterday alleged that the “disease” of the “tukde-tukde gang” had reached the Congress’s top level.
“When it comes to working against India’s interests, Congress’s ‘royal family’ will be at the forefront. I want to speak about a serious issue here, I want to say it as there is a lot of pain in my heart. This country can never forgive such a game. This family, to influence the politics in the country, is encouraging foreign forces to interfere,” PM Modi claimed.
The PM accused the Congress of secretly meeting foreign diplomats who hate India and repeatedly indulging in activities that insult India’s sovereignty, and said they were not ashamed of it.