Karnataka rural development minister KS Eshwarappa on Saturday, November 29, said that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will not give ticket to any Muslim candidate for the by-poll to Belagavi Lok Sabha seat.
"We might give the party ticket to any community of Hindus. Whoever we might give it to - maybe Lingayats, Kurubas, Vokkaligas, or Brahmins but definitely, it will not be given to Muslims," Eshwarappa said.
"Belagavi is one of the centres of Hindutva, there is no question of us giving tickets to Muslims here," he added.
Reacting to the Karnataka Minister's comments, AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi said that the remarks are "shameful & disgusting but not surprising". He also said that the 'Hindutva ideology' couldn't co-exist with the Constitution as 'Hindutva' did not believe in equality and couldn't exist with values such as liberty, fraternity, equality & justice enshrined in the Constitution.
The Belagavi Lok Sabha has been vacant since the death of Union minister of state for railways Suresh Angadi who succumbed to novel Coronavirus.
The by-poll for the seat is yet to be announced by the Election Commission.
Earlier in April last year, Eshwarappa had said that BJP will not give tickets to Muslims to contest the elections as they do not believe in the party. However, he had later clarified that he does not hate any community including Muslims and that his statement was in response to a question about a specific leader from the community getting a ticket from the BJP.
The minister had had then said, "We won't give tickets to Muslims in Karnataka. Why? Because you don't believe in us. Believe us and we'll see".
Ahead of the Karnataka Assembly Elections in 2018, he had alleged Muslims who are with Congress were "killers" while those with the BJP were "good Muslims".
"Muslims who killed 22 RSS and BJP activists are with the Congress and those who are good Muslims are with the BJP," he had said.