Former Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah on Monday hit out at the ruling BJP for dropping Jawaharlal Nehru’s photo from a list of freedom fighters issued in government advertisements by alleging that the act was an insult to the freedom struggle and the nation. He was reacting to BJP MLA and former state minister K S Eshwarappa’s statement welcoming the government’s decision of omitting Nehru’s name from the list paying tribute for their pivotal role in the freedom struggle as the country marks 75 years of independence.
“Dropping Nehru’s name from the list of freedom fighters is not an insult to Nehru but to the entire country and the freedom struggle. More than that, they (BJP) are insulting themselves, which they must realise,” Siddaramaiah told reporters in Bengaluru.
Speaking to reporters on Sunday, Eshwarappa had said, “It is a matter of pleasure if Nehru’s photograph was removed intentionally. I welcome it. What should we do to the person who divided the country? Who is the model for the country? The role model for the youth of the nation is Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Babu Jagjivan Ram, Dr B R Ambedkar, ‘Swatantra Veer’ Savarkar and Shyama Prasad Mookherjee, not Nehru.”
Countering Eshwarappa’s views, Siddaramaiah said, “Isn’t it a fact that Vinayak Damodar Savarkar had given an undertaking to the British rulers to come out of jail that he will not take part in the freedom movement. You remove Nehru’s photo, who had made a sincere effort to build a modern nation and put Savarkar’s photo.” The Congress stalwart questioned the BJP leaders’ knowledge of history and claimed that Pakistan’s founder Mohammed Ali Jinnah and the last viceroy of India Lord Louis Mountbatten were responsible for the partition of the country.
He sought to know how Nehru was responsible for the partition of the country when Jinnah had created the Muslim League and demanded a separate nation which Mountbatten agreed to. “No one should give people false information. They (BJP leaders) should study history. If they do not know, then at least they should make some effort. No attempt should be made to tarnish the historical figures and tamper with history,” Siddaramaiah said, adding that dropping Nehru’s name from the list of freedom fighters was “prima facie a hidden agenda of the BJP-RSS”.
“They (BJP leaders) themselves have accepted that they intentionally did not put Nehru’s photograph because they (RSS-BJP) are not among those who took part in the freedom struggle. Did RSS and BJP take part in the freedom struggle?” Siddaramaiah questioned. He also asked the BJP leaders whether anyone in the central government or state government took part in the freedom struggle or did their party have such background or such character.
“Today, they are doing ‘Har Ghar Tiranga’ (tricolour in every house) campaign but they have no respect for the national flag, national anthem or soldiers because they have got their own hidden agenda. They advance it. They also promote the politics of hatred and communalism,” Siddaramaiah alleged.