NEW DELHI: The BJP has shied away from the controversial statement made by senior party leader and Karnataka Rural Development Minister KS Eshwarappa on not giving any Muslim candidate an election ticket.
Speaking to the media on November 29, Ishwarappa said the BJP would field only Hindu candidates but not a single Muslim in the by-election in the Lok Sabha.
“We can give a party ticket to any community in the Hindus. We can give it to anyone – they may be Lingayat, Shepherds, Vokkaligars or Brahmins. But it is certainly not given to Muslims,” ​​he said.
“Price is one of the centers of Hindutva. There is no question that we are ticketing Muslims here, ”he said.
Union Railway Minister Suresh Angadi died recently due to COVID-19, thus leaving the Belgaum Lok Sabha seat vacant. The Election Commission has not yet announced a by-election for this position.
The BJP has tried to refrain from the opinion of Eshwarappa, who sang the controversy.
Speaking to Timesofindia.com, BJP Karnataka spokesman and actor-turned-politician Malavika Avinash said, “The ticket is issued in any party and on the basis of victory for the BJP. Therefore, Ishwarappa has expressed the view that the party’s parliamentary board will take a call on who is the right candidate as Suresh Bhatra has represented Belgaum constituency for the past four years.
However, another senior BJP leader in Karnataka alleged that Eshwarappa had consistently provoked a communal statement by accusing him of being “stupid”.
Talking about the condition of anonymity, he said, “Don’t ask me. Please only ask him (Eshwarappa). They are repeating such controversial statements. How far and how often can we protect him? This is embarrassing for the BJP. ”
He was referring to a similar statement made by Eshwarappa in April 2019, stating that the BJP would not field a Muslim candidate because he did not believe in the BJP. “Congress will only use you as a vote bank but will not give you a ticket. We will not issue a ticket to the Muslims of Karnataka. Why? Because you don’t trust us. Trust us and we will give you tickets and other things,” he said.
However, Ishwarappa subsequently issued a clarification, expressing his views in response to Belagavi’s local leader Iqbal Ansari’s anticipation of getting a ticket.
BJP national spokesperson Nalin Kohli has also shunned the Karnataka minister’s remarks. He said, “Since he (Eshwarappa) is a senior leader, it is necessary to check whether the quote is correct or not before responding. And also whether he made it clear in a later quote. ”
Senior leaders of the BJP may not be able to check the controversial statement, as the party does not favor Muslims. Moreover, the controversial statement is likely to hurt its own Muslim leaders.
Among the BJP’s current senior Muslim leaders, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi is the Union Minority Welfare Minister, while former Union Minister Shahnawaz Hussain is a member of the BJP’s high-level central election committee and one of the senior-national spokespersons. Another senior leader, Najma Heptullah, is the governor of Manipur.
Even in the past, Muslims Arif Beg and Sikander Bakht were senior leaders of the people and a founding member of the BJP. Beg was Union Minister in the Government of Morarji Desai in 1977. He was put in jail in an emergency.
Like Beg, Bakht was also jailed during an emergency. In March 1977, he won the Lok Sabha election from Delhi’s Chandi Chowk constituency on a Janata Party ticket.
After the split of the Janata Party, in 1980 Bakht was one of the founding members of the BJP. Twice he was Union Minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee Cabinet – first in the BJP government for 13 days in 1996 and in 1998.

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