“This election is not about road, gutter or drinking water… This election is about Hindus vs Muslims, Ram Mandir vs Babri Masjid.”
This is what the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Belagavi Rural (Mumbai-Karnataka region) MLA Sanjay Patil can be heard saying in a highly circulated video. The speech was part of his poll pitch on Tuesday, 17 April.
I am Sanjay Patil, I am Hindu, this is a Hindu rashtra and we want to build the Ram temple. If Lakshmi Hebbalikar says she can build the mandir – vote for her. They will build Babri Masjid instead. Whoever wants Babri Masjid, Tipu Jayanthi they should vote for the Congress. And who wants Shivaji Maharaj and Ram Mandir should vote for the BJP.Sanjay Patil, BJP MLA
The Congress criticised the MLA, calling the BJP “communal”.
“This is how one digs one's own grave. In the case of BJP MLA mentioned below, it's @BJP4Karnataka's grave. Clearly, for BJP, it's not about development. It has always been about communal politics,” KPCC president G Parameshwara tweeted.
The BJP so far has been evasive over the MLA’s speech and is yet to condemn it. When TNM reached out to BJP spokespersons, they refused to comment.
Sanjay Patil was booked by police in November 2017 for his comments against CM SIddaramaiah during a public rally.
He had questioned Siddaramaiah’s religion while opposing his decision to hold Tipu Jayanti celebrations.
He was also in a controversy for allegedly speaking in favour of Maharashtra over a border dispute. However, he later apologised for his statement.
(This story was published in an arrangement with The News Minute)
(The Quint is now on WhatsApp. To receive handpicked stories on topics you care about, subscribe to our WhatsApp services. Just go to TheQuint.com/WhatsApp and hit Send.)