The tussle between the Opposition Congress and the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party over the former’s criticism of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) intensified on Tuesday, with BJP workers collecting and carrying hundreds of chaddis (shorts) to the official residence of Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly Siddaramaiah in a symbolic protest.
The BJP is irked over the former Chief Minister’s recent remarks on RSS. Reacting to NSUI members burning a pair or Khaki shorts (worn by RSS cadre) outside Education Minister B.C. Nagesh’s house in Tumakuru, in protest against “saffronisation” of textbooks, he had questioned how it was a crime to burn a pair of shorts. He had threatened to launch a campaign of burning shorts if the arrested NSUI activists were not released.
Protesting against these statements, BJP workers, led by Dalit leader Chalavadi Narayanaswamy, carried bundles of shorts collected from people from different places to Mr. Siddaramaiah’s residence on Tuesday.
On Tuesday, Mr. Narayanaswamy maintained that burning shorts in public was “an insult to farmers who grow cotton and tailors who stitch them.” “Also, such a public burning would lead to increase in pollution. Police would have to take action against Mr. Siddaramaiah for taking up such a campaign that affects people’s health,” he said.
Mr. Narayanaswamy had also given a call to the party’s Dalit Morcha members to collect used shorts from people and send them to KPCC office in Bengaluru and particularly to Mr. Siddaramaiah.
In Mandya, BJP State vice-president B.Y. Vijayendra said that it was not befitting on the part of a leader of the stature of Mr. Siddaramaiah to speak lightly about the RSS.