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Bengaluru: We often see political leaders fighting poll battles or raising voices in television debates, but something bizarre happened in Karnataka's Ramanagara district where a senior BJP minister and a Congress MP from the state surpassed all decorum and almost exchanged blows at a public event where Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai was also present.
On Monday, Karnataka IT minister Dr CN Ashwathnarayan and Bengaluru Rural MP DK Suresh (younger brother of Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee - DK Shivakumar) were seen jostling in front of a mammoth crowd.
Both the leaders turned the foundation laying event for a number of development projects in the district as well as unveiling of the statues of Dr B.R. Ambedkar and Nadaprabhu Kempegowda into a political gimmick.
It all began when CN Ashwathnarayan, during his address, took a jibe at DK Suresh and his brother, without taking names, he called them “self-serving” politicians.
Ashwathnarayan said, "The one who serves people is a nayaka (leader). What do you call the one who serves his self interest? Today, the chief minister has come to our district to develop it. We have not come to play politics. We have always worked for the development of the district."
As soon as some Congress supporters cheered for DK Shivakumar, Ashwathnarayan went on to say, "If you are a man, show it in your work. No one has done development. It is the BJP government which is doing development."
The crowd did not respond well to the words of Ashwathnarayan and started shouting profanities for the "self-serving leaders," DK Suresh, who was also on the podium along with Basavaraj Bommai, Ramanagara MLA Anitha Kumaraswamy and other leaders, lost his cool.
In a rage, Suresh paced towards Ashwathnarayan and both were about to hit each other.
MLC Ravi took the microphone from Ashwathnarayan and attempted to raise a slogan but he was taken away by security personnel.
Suresh then sat on the floor of the dais in protest and his supporters too agitated at the venue as well as outside on the streets.
Later in his address at the event, the Karnataka Chief Minister regretted the incident. He said, “I came here with a lot of hope as Ramanagara has everything it takes to be a model district as it is close to the state capital. We all have a five-year term. I urge all the parties to work towards development of the state for 59 months and play politics only during the last one month. This is not the election year. Ghoda hai, maidan hai (there is a ground and there are horses) should not be our attitude.”
Suresh said he would apologise to the chief minister, but not anyone else. “If a minister challenges and provokes me on the dais, I cannot sit quietly and endure it all," he added.
Later in the day, Ashwathnarayan took to Twitter and said the behaviour of Congress leader DK Suresh in front of the Karnataka Chief Minister was "highly deplorable".
"Ramanagara has had CMs from the district in the past. A district with such glorious achievement should not have witnessed their CM being disrespected. Let us not fall for such goondaism. We need to stay on the path of development," he added.