Under attack from the BJP for allegedly going to a temple after eating non-vegetarian food and thereby hurting religious sentiments, Senior Congress leader Siddaramaiah on Tuesday (August 23) clarified that he did not eat any meat that day.
Also terming it a “non issue”, the former CM tried to assert the right to choice of food.
Siddaramaiah entering Basaveshwara temple in Kodlipet during his recent visit to Kodagu on August 18, after allegedly having non-vegetarian food, has triggered a controversy.
Also Read: BJP leaders target Siddaramaiah; allege he ate non-veg food before visiting temple
“Is eating meat an issue? (What one eats) is a personal food habit. I eat both meat and vegetarian food, it is my habit. Some do not eat meat, it is their food habit,” Siddaramaiah said in response to a question.
Speaking to reporters in Bengaluru, he said the BJP “does not have any other work”, and hence are trying to create controversies to divert public attention from “main issues”.
“According to me it is not at all an issue. Many go without eating meat and many go after eating. At many places meat is offered to deities. To tell you the truth I had not eaten meat that day. I said what I have subsequently, for the sake of argument. Though there was chicken curry, I ate only bamboo shoot curry and akki rotti,” he added.
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Siddaramaiah, the leader of opposition in the state assembly on Sunday (August 21) in his defence had said, he is a non-vegetarian and it is his food habit, he questioned as to whether the God has said what to eat and what not to before visiting temple.
The Congress Legislature Party leaders alleged act of visiting temple after eating non-veg food and his subsequent remarks had drawn sharp reactions from ruling BJP leaders with one senior MLA Basangouda Patil Yatnal even challenging: “If you Siddaramaiah have guts, eat pork and visit a mosque.”
Reacting to this challenge and attacks, Siddaramaiah said: “I only eat chicken and mutton, no other meat (pork or beef). But I am not opposed to those who eat it, as it is their food habit.”
Also Read: Kodagu: BJP workers stop Siddaramaiah’s car, throw eggs
Responding to state BJP chief Nalin Kumar Kateel’s statement accusing him of “staging a drama” of visiting temples and maths with elections approaching, Siddaramaiah said, he visits temples and believes in oneness of God and all Gods are one.
“I go to temples in my village…why should I go searching for God in Kashmir or some other place? I have many times been to Tirupati, Mahadeshwara hills, Chamundi hills and Nanjanagu temple. I go everywhere,” he said.
(With inputs from agencies)