A man who hurled eggs at Leader of Opposition in the Karnataka assembly, Siddaramaiah’s car during his visit to Kodagu district to inspect rain-related damages, was a Congress worker, a BJP MLA claimed on Saturday.
Sampath was among a number BJP activists who were arrested for staging a protest against Siddaramaiah on August 18.
A video of the incident in which Sampath is purportedly seen throwing eggs on Siddaramaiah’s car has gone viral. However, maintaining distance from Sampath, BJP legislator M P Appachu Ranjan claimed that Sampath was not a BJP activist but a Congress worker.
Responding to the MLA’s allegations, Sampath said he is indeed a Congress worker and was upset with his party leader Siddaramaiah’s alleged remarks made in the past that the Kodavas eat beef.
“I threw eggs because of Siddaramaiah’s statement, not because of the protest (organised by BJP). Because of his (Siddaramaiah’s) derogatory comments that the people of Kodagu eat beef and statements in favour of Tipu Sultan,” Sampath told reporters here.
Sampath said many people in Kodagu dislike Tipu Sultan, the 18th century Mysuru ruler. “I did not like his (Siddaramaiah’s) statements. I am a Hindu first and then a Congress worker,” he added.
“There are photos of Sampath holding the Congress flag, shawl and banner. If it is proved that he is our party member, then we will expel him…,” Ranjan told reporters.
According to the BJP MLA, Sampath is in the construction industry and works as a bar bender, while adding that Sampath’s father Sundaramurthy was in the BJP.
Sampath said he had come from Somawarpet to Madikeri, the district headquarter town of Kodagu, for some personal work. He went to have food near the place where he supposedly saw the Bharatiya Janata Party Youth Wing activists protesting against Siddaramaiah’s visit.
During his visit to Kodagu to inspect the rain-related damage two days ago, Congress stalwart Siddaramaiah faced the ire of the BJP Youth Wing activists who blocked the road and raised slogans against him.
The BJP leaders vented their anger against Siddaramaiah’s statement following violent clashes in Shivamogga on August 15 questioning the saffron party workers for putting up Hindutva ideologue Vinayak Damodar Savarkar’s poster in an area predominated by Muslims.
They were also opposing him for organising Tipu Jayanthi when he was the Chief Minister of the state. As CM, Siddaramaiah had started Tipu Jayanthi celebrations to pay tribute to the 18th century ruler of Mysuru.
Some Hindutva activists in Kodagu allege that Tipu Sultan had carried out large-scale conversion and killings of Kodavas, the native community of Kodagu district, during his rule.
During Tipu Jayanthi in November 2015, which the then Congress government had organised, widespread protests broke out in many parts of Karnataka, especially in Madikeri.
Meanwhile, Siddaramaiah and his loyalists are mulling over taking out a ‘Madikeri Chalo’, a march to Madikeri.
It is expected to be similar to the ‘Ballari Chalo’ movement taken out by Siddaramaiah in September 2010 against the rampant illegal mining of iron ore in the district.