'Kannada principal language in Karnataka, not Hindi': BS Yediyurappa shuns Amit Shah's one nation, one language proposal, says 'no compromise'

  • Karnataka chief minister BS Yeddiyurappa on Monday reiterated Kannada's importance and said that he remains committed to protecting the Kannada language, culture

  • On Saturday, BJP leader Amit Shah had batted for Hindi as the common language, saying that if any language can unite the country, it is Hindi that is spoken the most

  • Opposition leaders in Karnataka has termed Shah's statement as an attempt to 'impose' Hindi on the state

Days after Union Home Minister Amit Shah stressed on the importance of Hindi as a common language, Karnataka chief minister BS Yediyurappa's remarks on the issue will definitely stand out. "All official languages are equal. However, as far as Karnataka is concerned, Kannada is the principal language. We will never compromise its importance and are committed to promote Kannada and our state's culture," Yediyurappa tweeted on Monday.

Yediyurappa's comments assume significance given the closeness that BJP leadership and the Karnataka chief minister share, especially since the development comes almost a month after Yediyurappa's swearing in and picking his new cabinet. Yediyurappa had a tightrope to walk during the cabinet expansion as he had to craft a fine caste and regional balance in view of a large number of aspirants, especially with the central leadership having a final say in most of the decisions.

Shah's comments from Sunday reignited the language row, which has most of the Opposition, especially parties from the southern states, united against it. Former chief minister and senior Congress leader Siddaramaiah tweeted and oppsed the 'forced imposition' of the language. "Languages ​​are the basics of knowledge, it must be cultivated with love, not by pressure. Our opposition is not about the language of Hindi, but about its forced imposition. My opposition to the celebration of the Hindi day."

JD(U) leader and former chief minister HD Kumaraswamy also opposed the "imposition" and asked why wasn't there a Kannada language day.

Another politician from the south, AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi slammed the home minister's remarks and asked, "Could you try appreciating the diversity & beauty of the many mother tongues that dot this land?"

DMK president M K Stalin accused the Centre of "autocratic imposition of Hindi" and underscored the need for unity in opposition ranks to take forward protest against the government on such issues. Addressing an MDMK party event chaired by its leader Vaiko in Chennai on Sunday, Stalin said Tamil was sidelined in the competitive examination conducted by the railways and postal department.

Even actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan reacted sharply to Shah's comments and opposed any attempts to "impose" Hindi saying it was a promise made to the country decades back which "no Shah, Sultan or Samrat must renege on."

On Saturday, Shah batted for Hindi as the common language. "Though I believe that the diversity of languages and dialects is one of the biggest strengths of India, there is a need for our country to have one language, so that foreign languages don't find a place. This is why our freedom fighters envisioned Hindi as 'Raj bhasha'."

With inputs from PTI

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Updated Date: Sep 16, 2019 18:27:18 IST