Veteran Congress leader calls Karnataka home minister a 'monkey' as duo exchange barbs over funding of Lingayat movement

As the Congress deals with issues concerning its alliance with the Janata Dal (Secular) in Karnataka, the infighting in the grand old party came to the fore on Sunday after veteran leader Shamanur Shivashankarappa reportedly called Home Minister MB Patil a "monkey". The two leaders exchanged barbs after Shivashankarappa claimed that the Lingayat movement in 2017 was funded by money gathered through illegal means.

"This is a completely baseless allegation. The rallies, conventions and the entire (Lingayat) movement was organised through donations from followers," Patil was quoted as saying in Hubbali by the Deccan Herald. He warned Shivashankarappa that he would reveal "details" about him if he continues to make allegations, adding that he was being forced to break his pact of not speaking about the Lingayat issue after taking over as a minister in Karnataka.

Patil had spearheaded the Lingayat movement to demand separate minority religion status for the community.

"The fire (the demand for a separate religion tag for Lingayats) has not been doused yet. Some people played divisive politics with money. Since the election is around the corner, they are raising the Lingayat issue again," The New Indian Express quoted Patil as sating. He added that he respected Shivashankarappa as a father figure, but "his statements show he is greedy and only concerned about his family".

Responding to Patil's statement, Shivashankarappa said: "He is a child. I did not speak about him. I just spoke about what happened. In fact, (BJP leader) Prabhakar Kore and I have helped him grow. I do not want to comment much."

"What does he (Patil) know? He is a monkey," he said, according to The Hindu.

On Monday, Shivashankarappa lashed out at Patil again, alleging that the Karnataka home minister had won the elections by "spending crores".

According to Bangalore Mirror, Shivashankarappa had tried to clarify on Sunday that he never called Patil "monkey" and had been misquoted.

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Updated Date: Jan 14, 2019 12:40:34 IST

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