Following massive outrage on social networking sites and demands for an apology from Karnataka politicians, Goa's Water resources minister, Vinod Palyekar has said that his "harami" comment was misquoted. Palyekar took to Twitter to claim that the "so-called abusive words were misquoted". Palyekar even accused journalists of misreporting his comments.
Palyekar went on the defensive after politicians from Karnataka, cutting across party lines, demanded an apology from him for terming Kannadigas "harami" over the Mahadayi issue. Palyekar who visited Kanakumbi in Belagavi on Saturday attacked the Karnataka government and Kannada people over water being diverted from the Mahadayi river to the Malaprabha basin. Karnataka, Goa and Maharashtra are fighting a legal battle over water sharing from the Mahadayi river, also called Mandovi or Mhadei river. Palyekar who saw water diversion being carried out in violation of the Supreme Court order in Belagavi abused Kannadigas. "They are harami people. They can do anything," the minister told media persons.
While his comments led to massive outrage against his abusive comments on social media, politics took centre stage with the Congress accusing the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of allowing its Goa minister to abuse Kannadigas. Palyekar is from the Goa Forward Party (GFP)- an ally of the Manohar Parrikar led coalition government in Goa. The Congress repeatedly referred to Palyekar, an MLA of the GFP as "BJP Minister".
The abusive words used against #Kannadigas by @BJP4India Irrigation Minister from Goa are reprehensible to say the least. However, we hold no grudge against the people of Goa. We will continue to strive to secure drinking water from #Mahadayi for our people.— Siddaramaiah (@siddaramaiah) January 14, 2018
ಕನ್ನಡಿಗರ ವಿರುದ್ಧದ ಗೋವಾ ನೀರಾವರಿ ಸಚಿವರ ಹೇಳಿಕೆ ತೀವ್ರ ಖಂಡನೀಯ. ಗೋವಾ ಜನರನ್ನು ಮೆಚ್ಚಿಸಲು ಕನ್ನಡಿಗರ ಅವಹೇಳನ ಮಾಡುವುದು ಜವಾಬ್ದಾರಿಯುತ ಸ್ಥಾನದಲ್ಲಿರುವ ಸಚಿವರಿಗೆ ಶೋಭೆ ತರುವುದಿಲ್ಲ.#MahaDayi #GoaIrrigationMinister #KarnatakaMahadayi #GoaCM— H D Kumaraswamy (@hd_kumaraswamy) January 14, 2018
After being pounded with criticism over Palyekar's comments, Karnataka BJP chief, B S Yeddyurappa was forced to react to the comments. Yeddyurappa took to twitter to demand an apology from Palyekar.
I strongly condemn and demand an unconditional apology from Goa Forward Party leader and Goa Water Resources Minister Vinod Palyekar for his derogatory remarks and insulting Kannadigas. @vinod_palyekar— B.S. Yeddyurappa (@BSYBJP) January 14, 2018
The BJP attempted to rake up the controversial Mahadayi row to appease voters of North Karnataka ahead of the Karnataka assembly elections 2018. The attempt backfired with questions being raised on Parrikar responding to Yeddyurappa's letters while remaining mute on Chief Minister Siddaramaiah's attempts to resolve the drinking water crisis. Ever since the letter to Parrikar and its response, the Mahadayi row has only brought more trouble to the BJP in Goa as well as Karnataka. Palyekar's comments insulting Kannadigas also comes at a time when 'Kannada Pride' is being played by political parties as key election agenda.