Benguluru:After the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lost face in the Karnataka Assembly elections on Saturday, former MLA of Hassan City Assembly seat, Preetham Gowda issued what is being seen as a veiled threat meant towards the Muslim minority.
In a video that has been doing rounds on the internet, Preetham Gowda, who loses his seat in Hassan city, does not mention Muslims by name, but instead refers to “a community” and promises to “show them” his “power.”
The MLA lost the Hassan City Assembly seat to Janata Dal (Secular) candidate Swaroop Prakash, whereas the JD(S) has a larger presence and were favourites this time. The latter won by 7854 votes, leaving little for the BJP.
According to polling statistics, Muslim votes, usually swept away by Congress, concentrated behind JD(S) this time.
Preetham Gowda, post his loss delivered a speech, atop a building can be heard saying that, “…but people from that one particular community, who have shown us… We’ll show you what we’re, very soon. Truth shall shine like the sun and moon over Hassan. With love and faith, I attempted to bring all communities together. However, they hated me.”
“In the coming days, let their God take care of them. I’ll show them the power of Preetham Gowda.”
This is not the first time that Gowda has attempted to intimidate the Muslim community. Earlier in another video that surfaced on social media platforms, he had stated that he would not take up developmental works for the community.
The remarks drew sharp criticism from the people. In the video, Gowda, while addressing a gathering in Hassan city’s Muslim-dominated Srinagar locality was heard saying he had treated people of all communities as brothers in the last four years.
He went on to say that if Muslims came to his home, he would offer them coffee but not ensure development and won’t do anything they need.
“I will continue to treat you equally as brothers. But, you did not vote for me in the 2018 assembly elections and municipal elections. You did not vote for BJP in parliamentary elections. I will not do more than to ensure proper water, road and drainage facilities,” Pritham Gowda said.
Preetham Gowda maintained that he was just asking for wages for the labour he had put in to ensure developmental activities for Muslims. Referring to the crowd, he said: “You are all daily wage workers. You will get angry if your wages are not paid. Don’t you think even after getting work from me, if you don’t vote, I will get upset?
The war over Hassan so far:
K H Hanumegowda, a JD(S) stalwart, won the Hassan City Assembly segment for the first time in 1999. The seat was then won by H S Prakash of the JD(S), who had previously won the seat on a Janata Party ticket in 1994. He retained it for three terms in a row.
Preetham Gowda then won the seat for the BJP in 2018, defeating incumbent H S Prakash by 13,006 votes.
Swaroop was given the party ticket for the Hassan seat following a lot of drama.
JD(S) leader H D Revanna’s wife Bhavani Revanna an early frontrunner for the ticket, before senior JD(S) leader H D Kumaraswamy, (and her brother-in-law) declared that it would go to a party worker.
Swaroop Prakash, who won the ticket, is the son of four-time Hassan City MLA H S Prakash as the party pushed to tregain its power in the constituency.