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‘Would’ve Removed Savarkar’s Photo…:’ Karnataka Minister’s Remark Sparks Row

Karnataka IT minister and Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge’s son Priyank Kharge sparked a controversy on Wednesday with his remarks against Veer Savarkar in the Belagavi Assembly.

The minister claimed that if he were in charge, he would have removed the portrait of Veer Savarkar from Suvarna Soudha.

“What is his (Savarkar) contribution? I spoke about Savarkar in a press meeting for 1.5 hours at the Congress office. Let the BJP tell how Savarkar got the title of Veer. Who gave Savarkar the title of Veer? Let the BJP tell that Savarkar was not taking a pension from the British. This is my personal opinion and not the government’s. If it was left to me, I would have removed Veer Savarkar’s photo. He is not a Veer at all, and I’m challenging that,” Priyank Kharge said during the assembly session.

While some leaders backed Priyank Kharge’s remarks, it didn’t go well with several BJP leaders, who soon targeted him over his statements against Savarkar.

Responding to Kharge’s statement, Bharatiya Janata Party MLA Bharath Shetty said, “Priyank Kharge is ill-informed. He thinks he is one of the most educated people, but he is the most uneducated person in the assembly. If he tries to do so (remove Savarkar’s photo), protests will not only break inside the assembly but also outside.”

He added that Kharge was trying to create an issue and his statements were an attempt to divert from financial failures in the state.

Meanwhile, BK Hari Prasad, Congress MLC who backed Priyank Kharge’s remark said, “Savarkar’s contribution to the freedom struggle is zero, and it is Priyank Kharge’s opinion and he is right. His photograph should be removed and there’s no second opinion about it.”

“BJP was in power and they want to edit history. The world knows what Savarkar’s contribution is,” he added.

The BJP had earlier accused the Karnataka Congress government of planning to remove Savarkar’s portrait from Suvarna Soudha for the assembly session. They have also threatened to protest within the assembly if any attempt was made to take down the photo.

However, the Speaker UT Khader neither confirmed nor denied the plan to remove Savarkar’s portrait from Suvarna Soudha. He dismissed these speculations, stating that there is no such subject scheduled for discussion in the forthcoming assembly session.

Last year, the BJP faced opposition from Congress when they installed Savarkar’s portrait inside the assembly.

The Karnataka winter session commenced in Belagavi on December 4.