Belur Gopalakrishna, Congress leader in Karnataka. (ANI/Twitter)
Belur Gopalakrishna, Congress leader in Karnataka, has sparked a controversy after a video surfaced on social media in which he allegedly gave a call for the assassination of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The Karnataka unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has demanded action against Belur Gopalakrishna for his comment. Gopalakrishna made the call at an official party function.
A video of Gopalakrishna’s speech was tweeted by the Karnataka BJP on its official Twitter handle. The party said the Congress leader was trying to instigate people for the assassination of the PM.
“Belur Gopalakrishna, a Congress leader in a official party function calls for assassination of democratically elected PM Sri @narendramodi ji. Instigating for assassination of PM of a country is a nation threat & we urge @HMOIndia, @CPBlr to impose legal action immediately,” the local BJP united said in the tweet.
Well @RahulGandhi we remember you saying you don’t endorse hate politics but now that your own party leader has openly called for assassination of democratically elected PM of this Nation would you act on him ?— BJP Karnataka (@BJP4Karnataka) March 5, 2019
If you don’t act it clearly means you endorse his words. https://t.co/C6nw2T3k3J
Reacting to Gopalakrishna's speech, Udupi-Chikkamagaluru BJP MP Shobha Karandlaje tweeted: "Shocking statement from #Congress leader Belur Gopalakrishna, he calls out to assassinate PM Narendra Modi. To appease a particular section, Congress is instigating for the assassination of an elected PM. Urge Deputy CM Dr G parameshwara and CM HD Kumaraswamy to take legal action against him."
Apologising for his statement, Gopalkrishna later told news agency ANI: “I have respect for the Prime Minister, I never said PM has to be assassinated. How can I be silent when Gandhiji is disrespected? I said will you do the same thing to the PM? I will definitely apologise if my statements hurt anyone.”
Congress leader Belur Gopalkrishna: I have respect for the Prime Minister, I never said PM has to be assassinated. How can I be silent when Gandhiji is disrespected? I said will you do the same thing to the PM? I will definitely apologise if my statements hurt anyone. #Karnataka pic.twitter.com/9ZPxr7W2ZD— ANI (@ANI) March 5, 2019
Gopalakrishna had contested on a BJP ticket from Sagar in Shivamogga and defeated Congress heavyweight Kagodu Thimappa in the 2004 and 2008 Karnataka Assembly elections. He defected to the JD(S) in 2012 after the Ballari illegal mining scam in 2011 had split the state BJP unit. He contested from a JD(S) ticket in 2013 but lost the seat. In 2018, after differences with JD(S), he joined the Congress.