A former zilla panchayat member of Karnataka today said he would pay Rs 1 crore to anyone who chopped off Union minister Ananth Kumar Hegde's tongue for his reported remark that secular people were unaware of their parentage.
Former Kalaburagi zilla panchayat member Gurushant Pattedar said he had announced the "bounty" because Hegde's comment had pained Dalits, Muslims, backward classes and secular people.
"Opposing his (Hegde's) remarks I'm announcing a bounty of Rs 1 crore for chopping his tongue and bringing it (over)," Pattedar, who identified himself as a senior Dalit leader, told reporters in Kalaburagi.
Pattedar, who is currently associated with the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), said he was announcing the "bounty" on his volition.
"I'm ready to give the bounty amount to anyone who chops Hegde's tongue and brings it in one month's time, by January 26," he said.
He also accused Hegde of "denigrating" the Constitution.
The minister for skill development and entrepreneurship had kicked up a controversy on Sunday when he said at an event in Kukanur town in Koppal district that people who "call themselves secular" were unaware of their parentage.
He said he was happy if people recalled their religion or caste with pride.
"I feel happy because he (the person) knows about his blood, but I don't know what to call those who call themselves secular," the minister had said.
Hegde then said, "Those who, without knowing about their parental blood, call themselves secular, they don't have their own identity... They don't know about their parentage, but they are intellectuals." He also said while he respected the Constitution, "it will be changed in the days to come".
"We are here for that and that is why we have come," the five-time Lok Sabha MP from Karnataka said, drawing the ire of the ruling Congress in the state.
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said the BJP leader did not know "Parliamentary or political language".