Mandya/Bangalore, August 10: Inflammatory and sexist remarks against actor-turned-politician Ramya, who is contesting from Mandya Lok Sabha constituency for the August 21 byelections, by Janata Dal (Secular) leader M. Srinivas has kicked up a controversy.
Mr. Srinivas made a remark about Ms. Ramya’s parentage while addressing JD(S) activists at Srirangapatna on Friday afternoon. JD(S) candidate C.S. Puttaraju and other party leaders, who were on the dais, remained mute spectators to the remarks.
The Congress has said that it will examine the possibility of taking legal action against the JD(S) leader. Protests were held against the remarks in Mandya and elsewhere. Members of the district Congress burnt an effigy of Mr. Srinivas just off the Bangalore-Mysore Highway. Congress activists staged protest demonstrations at several areas in the district. They demanded an unconditional apology from Mr. Srinivas and urged the JD(S) to initiate disciplinary action against him.
“He should apologise for his remarks. It is unbecoming of a leader of a party that claims it respects women. Such comments, when she has just lost her guardian R.T. Narayan, is inhuman,” said KPCC president G. Parameshwara.
Advocate and Mandya District Congress Committee (MDCC) spokesperson T.S. Sathyananda said the Congress would approach the Election Commission to take action against Mr. Srinivas.
Senior party leaders, including MLC Motamma, MLA D.K. Shivakumar, B.L. Shankar, Minister for Housing M.H. Ambareesh and Minister of State for Kannada and Culture Umashree have termed the remarks on the actor’s parentage an “insult to women”.
An embarrassed JD(S), meanwhile, engaged in a fire-fighting exercise to save face.
Regretting the statement, party State president H.D. Kumaraswamy said it was not right to comment on the personal life of people in public life. “I will apologise if Ms. Ramya is pained by the statement of the party leader,” he said. He also said the party’s focus should be to gain the confidence of the people during the elections. “I will not endorse mudslinging of any kind by anybody,” he further clarified.