A BJP MLA in Karnataka has sparked controversy by declaring that the coming Assembly elections are about conflict between Hindus and Muslims. A video clip of Belgaum Rural MLA Sanjay B Patil's incendiary speech has been doing the rounds and whipping up controversy.
The clip seems to have been shot by someone who was in the crowd, but these is no indication from the video where or when it was shot, but there are clear indications it is fairly recent. Patil was addressing a small crowd.
"This election is an important one. This election is not about roads or gutters or drinking water. This is about Hindus against Muslims. Whoever wants to build a Babri Masjid, whoever wants to celebrate Tipu Sultan Jayanti, let them go to the Congress. If you want Shivaji Maharaj, if you want Shambaji Maharaj, if you want the temple to be built, you vote for the BJP," Patil can be heard saying in the video clip.
"I will thump my chest and say loudly that is Bharat desha, a Hindu country, the country where Ram was born. I want the Ram temple to be built and Ayodhya and I will do whatever is needed for that," he said, to loud cheers from the crowd.
He then turned his speech around to attack his Congress rival for the coming elections, Lakshmi Hebbalkar. "If Lakshmi Hebbalkar says she will build the Ram temple, all of you go and giver her your vote. But she won't do it. She will build a mosque, a Babri Masjid," he said.
Patil represents the Belgaum Rural constituency in the outgoing Karnataka Assembly. He had defeated Hebbalkar in the 2013 contest.