Savarkar's portrait unveiled in Karnataka assembly hall, Congress protests

Portraits of Veer Savarkar, Swami Vivekananda, Subhas Chandra Bose, BR Ambedkar, Basaveshwara, Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel were unveiled on the first day of Winter Session of Karnataka Assembly, at Suvarna Vidhana Soudha in Belagavi, Monday, December 19, 2022. Photo: PTI

Belagavi (K'taka): Hindutva ideologue Vinayak Damodar Savarkar's life-size portrait was unveiled inside the Assembly chamber at the 'Suvarna Vidhana Soudha' here, along with several national icons, drawing criticism from the opposition Congress, which alleged that it was a unilateral decision, keeping them in the dark.

The portraits of Swami Vivekananda, Subash Chandra Bose, B R Ambedkar, Basaveshwara, Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, and Savarkar were unveiled by Assembly Speaker Vishweshwar Hegde Kageri and Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, inside the Assembly chamber, just before the commencement of the 10-day winter session of the state legislature in this border district.

Earlier, Congress led by Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Siddaramaiah and party's state President D K Shivakumar staged a demonstration outside 'Suvarna Vidhana Soudha' holding pictures of several national and state icons like Kuvempu, Narayana Guru, Shishunala Sharif, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Babu Jagjivan Ram among others.

Stating that it is his party's demand that portraits of national leaders and social reformers should be installed in the assembly and they are not protesting against any one portrait, Siddaramaiah said, without any discussions or consultation unilaterally decisions have been taken to install certain portraits inside the House.

"If any portrait has to be put inside the Assembly, the House has to be taken into confidence as they become the property of the Assembly, though the Speaker is the custodian. It has not been done, it was not even discussed in the Business Advisory Committee," he said.

Noting that he neither had an invitation nor any information regarding the unveiling of the portraits including that of Savarkar, and only got to know about it through the media, Siddaramaiah said, "We are not opposed to installing any portraits, but Assembly had to be taken into confidence."

Suggesting that portraits of Nehru, Patel, Jagjivan Ram, and social reformers have to be installed and it's their demand, he said, "they (BJP government) are now doing it because we (Congress) will raise several issues like corruption, voter ID card scam, farmers issues, law and order, also several scams. In order to divert the attention of the people they are doing this unilaterally. We oppose this."

Reacting to the Congress' protest, Chief Minister Bommai said, "Whatever happens inside the Assembly is left to the Speaker and the Legislature Department, I'm yet to meet the Speaker, I will talk to him."

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