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HomePolitics‘Our RSS’: Karnataka Speaker’s open display of 'Sangh affiliation' triggers uproar in...

‘Our RSS’: Karnataka Speaker’s open display of ‘Sangh affiliation’ triggers uproar in Assembly

Congress MLAs criticised Speaker Vishweshwar Hegde Kageri’s reference to the Sangh as 'our RSS' while presiding over the House Thursday, but he stuck to his stance.

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Bengaluru: Karnataka Assembly Speaker Vishweshwar Hegde Kageri sparked an uproar in the House Thursday when he referred to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) as “our RSS” while presiding over the proceedings.

RSS is the ideological mentor of the BJP, which rules the state.

“Why are you always so miffed with our RSS?” Kageri asked Siddaramaiah, the leader of the opposition and a former chief minister. 

His comment immediately drew the attention of Congress MLA B.Z. Zameer Ahmed Khan, who asked, “Honourable Speaker, how can you call it ‘our RSS’ while sitting in that chair?” 

What followed was the Speaker reiterating his stance, with voices from the treasury bench chiming in to support him. 

“Of course it is. It is our RSS, what else. The RSS is ours,” said Kageri, adding, “Look here, Zameer, let me say this. Everybody in our country, including you, will definitely have to call it ‘our RSS’ in the near future.” 

This isn’t the first time that Kageri has openly proclaimed his affinity towards the RSS. In July 2019, when he was elected Speaker, he credited his achievements to the Sangh and defended his links to the organisation when some members made remarks about its ideology.

Also read: Congress holds sleep-in protest in Karnataka assembly over BJP minister’s saffron flag remark

‘RSS is omnipresent in the country today’

Kageri’s comment Thursday came in response to a statement by Siddaramaiah about valuing personal relationships over political differences. 

“We have to first respect each other as people. There may be differences, but we have personal relationships too. It is the individual first and then BJP, RSS or Congress,” Siddaramaiah said, after which Kageri asked why the former CM often targeted “our” RSS. 

While Congress leaders protested against the Speaker’s comment, BJP leaders, including ministers, backed Kageri.

Revenue Minister R. Ashoka said, “I am in agreement with the Speaker’s comment. The RSS is omnipresent in the country today. Our President, Prime Minister, Vice-President, and even chief ministers are from the RSS. You have to accept it. It is our good luck.”

Rural Development Minister K.S. Eshwarappa, another BJP veteran, added that followers of other religions, too, would soon turn to the RSS. “Whether you like it or not, all the Christians and Muslims in India, too, will become (part of the) RSS soon,” he said, inviting more criticism from Congress leaders.  

Congress MLA and former minister Priyank Kharge said, “Honourable Speaker, you sat in the same chair last week and spoke about the need to uphold the Constitution. Today, you sit in the same chair and say you belong to the RSS. The same organisation that protested against the Constitution and burnt copies of it, demanding that it be replaced with Manusmriti.”

The Speaker dismissed Kharge’s comments as “frivolous”.

(Edited by Rohan Manoj)

Also read: Rich Muslims, angry Hindus: Why coastal Karnataka and Kerala are hotbeds of violent politics


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