Congress leader comes down heavily on Karnataka govt after ban of Muslim traders at Hindu religious fairs


In the wake of the incident when Muslim traders in Karnataka were banned from operating at Hindu religious fairs, former Congress minister Priyank Kharge on Saturday asked if the BJP government in the state will target IT major Wipro next because it is headed by a Muslim.

Kharge was addressing a press conference, where he said, “Does it mean that henceforth India will not conduct trade with Islamic nations? Looking at the way things are going, half of Karnataka’s investments need to go.”

“Lakhs of people work in Wipro. Isn’t it a nation-building organisation? The people behind Wipro could have migrated to Pakistan, but they stayed back,” the Congress leader said, referring to Wipro founder Asim Premji, a Muslim from Gujarat.

The minister further pointed out that India has deep business and trade ties with countries like Iraq, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Kuwait, Bangladesh and Jordan.  Coming down heavily at the Bommai government, Kharge said, “The BJP should say they will neither import from or export to Islamic nations. Will you do that?” he asked. “Here, Muslim traders are being banned. Does poverty know caste or religion?”

Kharge also pulled up the government over increasing unemployment in Karnataka. He said the BJP’s tall promises on employment generation have remained on paper. “Let me give you an example of the state’s employment department. In this department itself, of the 6,187 sanctioned posts, 3,643 are vacant. On what basis does the government claim it will give jobs to the young and needy?” Kharge asked.

“The Karnataka government conducted more than 50 job fairs last year, but could generate only about 12,000 jobs. In villages, the government conducted 10 job fairs and selected about 6,000 people. Of the 19,465 people shortlisted, only 1,883 have got jobs,” he added.

Kharge blamed Bommai government’s “anti-industry” policies for Ola choosing Hosur in Tamil Nadu for setting up a two-wheeler plant instead of Bengaluru. “When Ola approached Karnataka, the government’s single-window system led to many doors. Fed up, they went to Hosur where its plant is employing more than 10,000 people,” he said.