Telangana: Karnataka min’s ‘Muslim Speaker’ remark in Congress rally sparks row

Bengaluru: Karnataka Minister B Z Zameer Ahmed Khan has landed in controversy saying that the Congress made a Muslim — U T Khader — Speaker of the Legislative Assembly before whom the “best-of-the-best” BJP leaders salute and say Sahab Namaskar’.

During an election campaign in poll-bound Telangana, the Housing, Wakf, and Minority Welfare Minister pointed out that no Muslim had ever become the assembly speaker in Karnataka’s history, but Congress gave that respect to a person from the community this time.

“No one (from the Muslim community) in the history of Karnataka had become the Speaker of the assembly. Congress party made U T Khader the Assembly Speaker. Today the best-of-the-best BJP leaders stand before Khader saying Sahab Namaskar’. Who made him? It’s Congress,” Khan told a gathering.

The minister said nine Muslims were elected to the Karnataka assembly in the May elections of 17 who were given tickets. Of these nine, five have been given “power”, he said.

Criticism

As the minister’s statement drew sharp criticism from various quarters, he said he had spoken only about the respect given to the Muslim Community by the Congress party and did not insult legislators of any party.

A statement issued by his office said that being a star campaigner in the Telangana Assembly polls, Khan has not spoken in an insulting manner against any individual or the party legislators.

“In Karnataka, the Congress party has given the highest respect for the Muslim community and given the post of speaker for the first time in the history of the state. In the legislative assembly, all the Congress, BJP and Janata Dal (Secular) MLAs will address the Speaker as honourable speaker. The Congress party had given that opportunity to rise to such a top post,” the statement read.

Khan also said the Karnataka BJP unit President B Y Vijayendra and others have read his statement “wrong” and are trying to rake up a controversy.

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