A day after Union Home Minister Amit Shah said that Hindi was the only language that can unify the country, former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Sunday termed Mr. Shah as a “wicked insider in a joint family who finds ways to break the unity”, even as Law Minister J.C. Madhuswamy said Kannadigas will not tolerate attack on Kannada.
Slamming the Home Minister, Mr. Siddaramaiah tweeted: “This home wrecker needs to be taught a lesson!! India has rich history and diverse geography. Each explains its own vibrant culture and practice. We have to embrace the diversity to remain united.”
Former Union Minister and Congress leader Jairam Ramesh took a jibe at Mr. Shah’s ‘One nation, One language’ statement by saying that “we may have one nation–one election, one nation–one tax, but under no circumstance can we have one nation and one language or culture.” He was speaking at the founder’s day celebrations at the Federation of Karnataka Chamber of Commerce and Industries here on Sunday. Incidentally, before he started his speech, he addressed dignitaries on the dais in Kannada, Hindi, and English.
Former Minister and Congress leader Krishna Byre Gowda also took to Twitter and said: “The BJP leadership wants to divide Indians on the basis of language for politics. This is a tactic to divide, distort and divert attention away from real issues of unemployment and a faltering economy.”
BJP downplays statement
Among the BJP State leaders, who defended the Home Minister’s statement, was Mr. Madhuswamy who said that Mr. Shah had clarity in his speech. “I don’t think Hindi will be imposed on non-Hindi speaking States. We are not ready to tolerate if they impose Hindi on us. We are Kannadigas and will not tolerate the attack on Kannada.” He, however, defended Mr. Shah by saying that he has not said anything on imposition of Hindi in his speech. Mr. Shah said a nation will have respect if it has one language, he said.
Other BJP leaders seem to not only be on the back foot, but are trying to downplay his statement.
Public Works Minister Govind Karjol said Kannnada will survive and will not be affected by the hegemony of any other language. “Kannada has the history of over 2,500 years. India has seen the rule of Muslim kings, British, and Portuguese. Even during their regime, Kannada survived,” he said.
In Hubballi, Large and Medium Scale Industries Minister Jagadish Shettar said Mr. Shah’s tweet has been misinterpreted by the Opposition. “What he said was like one country, one flag there should be one language. The Opposition has failed to comprehend this,” he said.
Speaking in Dharwad, Union Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Coal and Mines Pralhad Joshi said: “There is no threat to regional languages by promoting Hindi as national language. Hindi has been the national language since the rule of the Congress and regional languages, including Kannada, have been thriving. Today, a large number of Indians speak Hindi, hence there is no need to attach any ulterior motive to Mr. Shah’s statement.”
(With inputs from Tumakuru, Hubballi, Vijayapura, and Dharwad)