In a massively controversial development, photos have been accessed of newly-sworn-in Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy meeting with leaders of the PFI and SDPI -- an Islamic outfit and its political party respectively -- that have been accused of undertaking anti-national activities, and also of lending their support to the JD(S) and Congress in the recent Karnataka elections.
The photo was clicked soon after Kumaraswamy took oath as the Karnataka CM at the Vidhana Soudha in Bengaluru and also features Bengaluru mayor Sampath Raj.
Republic TV spoke to the Bengaluru mayor over the meeting. He said that he, along with his party leader, had gone to meet CM Kumaraswamy and greet him, while Mujahid Pasha and SDPI and PFI members had come to meet Kumaraswamy separately. They only coincidentally happened to be in the same photo.
When asked about what he knew of the meeting, Mayor Sampath Raj said that it lasted for a minute and was only a meet-and-greet. Raj also said that he spoke to Mujahid Pasha over issues arising from them both being corporators.
Days before Karnataka went to the polls, BJP party president Amit Shah had alleged that the Congress, fearing defeat, had sought the support of the SDPI (Social Democratic Party of India) and PFI (Popular Front of India) in the assembly polls. He has alleged on a number of occasions that the PFI and SDPI had engaged in political killings targeting BJP and RSS workers. He had accused the then Siddaramaiah-led Karnataka government of turning a blind eye to the PFI and SDPI's activities.
Watch the photo and the Bengaluru Mayor's account in the video above.
The Karnataka Assembly elections come at a critical time in Indian politics, a year to go before the 2019 Lok Sabha polls and a year after perhaps the BJP's biggest electoral achievement -- the stellar win in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections. Given that the last major win for the Opposition was in the Bihar elections in 2015 and Karnataka is the last large state, apart from Punjab, to be held by the Congress, it presents the BJP with a chance to go further than anybody ever has in making a 'Congress mukt Bharat', as has been party president Amit Shah's goal. Follow the Karnataka Elections in-depth here.