Karnataka MLA BJP Basangouda S Patil Yatnal has stoked controversy after he was heard in a video asking corporators to only work for the welfare of Hindus and not Muslims. Hours after the video went viral, the lawmaker on Thursday, June 7, defended his statement and asked if it is "wrong to speak in favour of Hindus?"
Here's what Yatnal said in the video, which was recorded on a mobile phone:
Muslims have started this new thing of first saying Jai Bheem and then As-salamu-alaykum. They send messages on WhatsApp asking Muslims to not buy items from Hindu shops because Hindus support Bajrang Dal and Shiv Sena by taking that money. But then how does he remember Jai Bheem? Dalits are downtrodden people. By taking their name they want to divide the society with a Dalit-Muslim combination. I called corporators and told them you should work in favour of Hindus and not Muslims. I had said no to Muslims before itself. I had told my people that those who wear burqas and skullcaps should not come to my office.
He even asked the crowd as to "who voted for me in Bijapur?", to which the mob of people, who were cheering for him shouted out the word "Hindus", reported The News Minute.
Though it is not known as to when the video was recorded, it made the headlines on Thursday. Since a poster of Shivaji is visible in the background of Yatnal's video, it is speculated that he gave the talk during a Shivaji Jayanti event from February 2018.
After the video went viral, Yatnal called for a press meet later on Thursday. When reporters asked him to speak about his anti-Muslims statements, Yatnal seemed angered and jumped to his defence.
There was a Shivaji programme and I had said that our people suffered injustice and I have said that action must be taken regarding it. In this country, is it wrong to speak in favour of Hindus? Is satisfying minorities enough for you?
The former Union Minister even claimed that members of the Islamic community had not voted for him even when he was in the JD(S).
"Have Muslims voted for me? Even when I was with JD(S)? Why are you speaking in favour of them?" he questioned.
Yatnal, who was the Minister of State, Textiles, and Minister of State, Railways, in the third Vajpayee government, had joined JD(S) in 2010 and then returned to BJP in 2018.