The episode of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah referring to President Droupadi Murmu in the singular while sympathising with her at a convention of the oppressed communities in Chitradurga drew sharp criticism from JD(S) State president H.D. Kumaraswamy who urged the Governor to sack him though the Chief Minister later expressed regret over his remark.
Earlier, while alleging that the President had been kept away from the inauguration of new Parliament building and Ram Mandir consecration event, Mr. Siddaramaiah on Sunday spoke sympathetically towards her but referred to her in the singular.
Soon after Mr. Kumaraswamy’s criticism, the Chief Minister offered his regret over such a remark. “I referred to the President in the singular by mistake as I got emotional when recalling that she had not been invited to the inauguration of the Ram temple. I regret over it,” he said. He made it clear that it was a practice for people like him who came from villages to refer to the elders, including parents, in the singular. However, it was not disrespect, he said, while stating that he had a lot of respect towards the President.
Earlier, Mr. Kumaraswamy said such a reference showed the mindset of the Chief Minister for allegedly insulting the President — a woman who represents the oppressed classes. “He is not fit to continue in his post. He should resign otherwise, the Governor should sack him for his uncharitable remarks on the first citizen. Mr. Siddaramaiah, who behaves like an advocate and constitutional expert, has insulted the first citizen coming from the oppressed class at the convention for the oppressed classes.” He should be ashamed of himself for addressing the President in the singular. “Is it how a Chief Minister addresses the President at a public function? He has insulted India and its Constitution,” he alleged.
Mr. Kumaraswamy said that at a public meeting in Chamarajanagar on Saturday in which the Chief Minister’s son and former MLA Yathindra was participating, the police chased a person for addressing the latter in the singular and manhandled him. “What will be the punishment for the Chief Minister now?” If Mr. Siddaramaiah respects women, he should step down,” he said.
It may be noted that recently, Congress leaders had erupted in anger after Uttara Kannada MP Anantkumar Hegde, at a BJP meeting, addressed Mr. Siddaramaiah in the singular.