BS Yeddyurappa Clarifies After Row Over “Bring People To Vote” Remark

Belagavi:  It was probably meant to be a pep talk for his supporters to ensure that people who are likely to back the party come out to vote. But BS Yeddyurappa appeared to walk into a political row on Saturday.

At an election meeting in Belagavi, Mr Yeddyurappa said in Kannada: “If you think that somebody isn’t voting, go to their homes, tie up their hands and legs and bring them to vote in favour of Mahantesh Doddagoudar (the BJP candidate from Kittur).”

The Congress promptly took on the BJP’s presumptive chief minister for his choice of words. Randeep Singh Surjewala, the media in-charge of the Congress, saw a shade of frustration in the “defeatist BJP facing rejection” at the hands of Kannadigas.

“Mr Yeddyurappa, insulting democracy and intimidating voters will trounce the BJP decisively,” he tweeted.

Mr Yeddyurappa later tweeted, again in Kannada, later clarified that his remarks had been misunderstood. Repeating the phrase, he clarified that it means holding people’s legs and hands to compel people to vote.

“I belong to a farmer-village background. This is how we villagers speak. It is not apparent to some people,” he said, responding to a tweet in English from the Karnataka Congress that counted his statement as a threat.

The controversy came on a day Prime Minister Narendra Modi put up a strong defence for the party’s chief ministerial face, attacking the Congress for using foul language against the BJP leader and levelling baseless allegations. “Yeddyurappa Ji visited homes of poor and Congress mocked that too. This is an insult of the poor and cannot be tolerated,” PM Modi said at a rally in Shivamogga.

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