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Let Congress open 'Nehru Hookah bar' at its office: CT Ravi

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Bengaluru, Aug 12: Reiterating his demand to rename Indira Canteens as "Annapoorneshwari Canteen," BJP National General Secretary CT Ravi on Thursday said, "let Congress open the Indira Canteen or Nehru Hookah Bar at its office".


Alleging that there was "pure politics" behind naming the canteens after late former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, he said the BJP doesn't have prejudice to reject everything she and her father Jawaharlal Nehru, the first PM of the country, did, as both have contributed to the nation.

Congress leaders Siddaramaiah and DK Shivakumar, while recounting the contributions of Nehru and Indira Gandhi for the country, hit back at the BJP national General Secretary and asked him to speak responsibly.

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"....we don't have prejudice to reject every stand taken by Indira (Indira Gandhi). Nehru and Indira Gandhi have contributed to this nation. But to say only that family contributed to the nation is something only slaves will agree with," Ravi said.

Speaking to reporters here, he said 217 schemes have been named after the Nehru-Gandhi family, and sought to know if others haven't contributed to the nation.

Defending his suggestion to rename Indira canteen as Annapoorneshwari canteen, Ravi, who is MLA from Chikmagalur said, Annapoorneshwari is not a political name, she's a goddess of food and we pray to her as part of our culture.

"In the Congress office, let them open the Indira Canteen or Nehru Hookah Bar...let them open. Who will object? But, let them not use it to play politics. That's why I said the canteens have to be renamed as Annapoorneshwari canteen," he said.

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Launched in 2017, the Indira Canteen, which was the pet project of then Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, serves highly subsidised food.

These canteens serve breakfast for Rs five and lunch and dinner for Rs 10.

Pointing out that Indira Gandhi was assassinated in 1984, Ravi asked whether canteens in her name were started in 2017 out of love?

"No, it was for pure politics. Why didn't Congress open the canteens when it was in power between 1989 and 1994, 1999-2006, 2013-2017. They did it for politics and to make money," he said.

Alleging that Rs 1.30 crore was spent to erect four concrete pillars for Indira Canteens, he said, "Is it a 5-star hotel? They wanted to make money by keeping Indira Gandhi's name, should we accept that? Our opposition is because this canteen is political.

The BJP national General Secretary said there is neither prejudice to reject everything nor "soft spot" to accept everything Nehru did.

"The good decisions taken by Nehru, we accept them as ours. He's the first PM. There are some misadventures, which were corrected through Article 370. Such things have to be rectified. Our priority is nation-first," he said.

Raising questions about a stadium being named after PM Narendra Modi and late BJP leader Arun Jaitley, and projects being named after Deendayal Upadhyaya and Vajpayee among others, Leader of Opposition in the assembly Siddaramaiah asked whether the Hookah Bar analogy applicable to them as well "....I don't want to speak lightly about anybody."

Recalling that Nehru fought for the freedom of the country and his family sacrificed life for the nation, he said, "Did Ravi or BJP fight for the freedom of this country? No one should speak lightly, we don't speak lightly about Vajpayee or Advani. Ravi doesn't know history and to respect people."

Noting that Indira and Rajiv Gandhi have sacrificed their lives for the country KPCC President D K Shivakumar said let BJP leaders point out one such sacrifice from their party.

Responding to a question on the Mekedatu issue, Ravi, who is party in-charge of Tamil Nadu, which is opposed to the project across Cauvery river said, there are already orders sharing the river water, and nothing stops both states from utilising their share of water within the ambit of that order.

"Only when there is violation of the orders, it will lead to controversy...no political party should misuse this issue for the sake of politics, it has to be viewed realistically... there should be no boundaries or politics for drinking water," he said.

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