Row over changing names: Vishwanath slams C.T. Ravi, Priyank Kharge

Says not good to speak derogatively about their personal habits during a public debate


Former minister and BJP MLC A.H. Vishwanath came down heavily on party colleague C.T. Ravi and Congress leader Priyank Kharge for dragging the names of former Prime Ministers Jawaharlal Nehru and A.B. Vajpayee in their political tirade and for speaking derogatively about their personal habits during a public debate over naming of government schemes.

Showering fulsome praise on Nehru as the ‘pride of India’, Mr Vishwanath said he had ‘spent more years in jail’ during the freedom struggle than as ‘Prime Minister’ of free India.

He said the entire family of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru had not only immersed themselves in the freedom struggle, but also propagated secularism and the message of peace to the world. Their contribution to laying and protecting the secular and democratic foundations of the country can never be forgotten, he said while condemning the utterances of Mr. Ravi, who is also the national general secretary of BJP.

While advising Mr Ravi to read about the leaders of the yore and their speeches in the Upper and Lower Houses of Parliament, Mr. Vishwanath called upon the BJP leader to withdraw his statements.

Mr. Vishwanath did not spare Congress leader Priyank Kharge for his remarks against the late BJP stalwart A.B. Vajpayee. He told Mr. Priyank to learn how to speak from his father M. Mallikarjun Kharge, who is now the Congress leader in the Rajya Sabha.

Mr. Ravi and Mr. Kharge, both former ministers, should realise that they should maintain decency and decorum in public debates. “Nobody has a right to talk about the private lives of public figures,” he said.

On renaming Indira canteens, the BJP MLC said Indira Gandhi had strived to remove poverty in the country with a call for ‘Garibi Hatao’. He described the demand for change of name as ‘pettiness’. “Has anybody asked for removal of the name of Mr. Vajpayee from health schemes?”

‘Why hanker for portfolios?’

Mr. Vishwanath trained his guns against the Ministers in the Karnataka government who are demanding a change of portfolio. “Are the Ministers, who are demanding a change in portfolio, experts in the dDepartments they are hankering after? Do you want particular departments because there is a lot of money involved?”

Mr. Vishwanath recalled starting with a small portfolio –– Department of Kannada and Culture –– before he was elevated to Cabinet rank and allotted with portfolios like Forest, Education and Co-operation.

He called upon Ministers to extend support to Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai in the interest of administration and help him bring the party back to power after 20 months.

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Author: Shirley