Bengaluru, May 21: Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa today slammed Law Minister JC Madhuswamy for yelling at a woman farmer in Kolar, an incident that attracted widespread criticism.
The incident happened on Wednesday when Madhuswamy, who is also the minor irrigation minister, was inspecting the Koramangala-Challaghatta (KC) Valley project, under which Bengaluru’s sewage is treated and pumped into lakes in Kolar.
During his visit, farmer Nalini Gowda questioned Madhuswamy on the encroachment of the 1,022-acre S Agrahara lake. At one point, Madhuswamy lost his cool and yelled, “Aye! Shut your mouth, rascal,” and asked the police to take her away. Before this, Madhuswamy told her, “Make a request. I’m a very bad man. You can only air your grievance. Don’t command us.”
A video of this exchange was aired by news channels.
“What (Madhuswamy) said is not right. I have warned him. None can forgive such an explicit manner of talking with a woman. That, too, behaving like that being a minister doesn’t bode well. I will talk to that woman also and I’ll ensure this doesn’t happen again,” Yediyurappa told reporters.
The incident has come as a shot in the arm to the Opposition Congress, which is already attacking the Yediyurappa administration on the COVID-19 crisis. Condemning Madhuswamy’s behaviour, Leader of the Opposition Siddaramaiah demanded an apology and asked Yediyurappa to sack him from the Cabinet.
Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president D K Shivakumar said it was unbecoming of Madhuswamy to behave like that being a senior minister. “People will ask us questions and express their problems, naturally. What’s important is how we handle ourselves. Be it a woman or anyone, they come to us because we’re into public service. Calling them ‘rascal’ and things is not right. Maybe there was some irritation, but I agree with (Siddaramaiah) that he should be dropped from the Cabinet,” he said.
On his part, Madhuswamy said he felt intimidated. “If I have hurt the feelings of any woman, I will certainly apologise,” he said. “But citizens should realise, we go to their villages to ask about their problems. If they start abusing us publicly, how can we work? My secretary and I heard her for five minutes and then told her that we know our responsibility. We asked her to close the issue. She didn’t stop and I got tempted (sic),” the minister said.
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