The BJP on Monday filed a complaint with the Election Commission against former Congress chief Sonia Gandhi over the statement that the party would not allow anyone to pose a threat to Karnataka's "reputation, sovereignty or integrity", and requested it to issue direction for registration of an FIR against her over the use of the word "sovereignty".
Noting that a "sovereign" by definition is an independent nation, the complaint said, "When a country becomes independent, that country is called a sovereign country. India is a sovereign country and the state of Karnataka is a proud part in it. Till today no one raised any question about the integrity of Kannadigas with the sovereignty of the nation."
The complaint added: "The meaning of what Congress is saying is that the Congress believes that Karnataka is separate from India. This statement is divisive in nature; it is aimed at dividing the citizens and creating a rift between two people of different states. Karnataka is not different from India. This is a shocking statement leading to igniting divisive sentiments and to create disharmony in the society."
The Congress, referring to Gandhi's speech at a campaign rally at Hubballi on Saturday, said in a tweet that "The Congress will not allow anyone to pose a threat to Karnataka's reputation, sovereignty or integrity". It added that the Congress Parliamentary Party Chairperson "sends a strong message to 6.5 crore Kannadigas", and also posted pictures of her speaking at the public meeting.
Describing this statement as "shocking and unacceptable", Union Minister Shobha Karandlaje, who filed the complaint, said Gandhi had violated provisions of the Model Code of Conduct and requested the EC to take stringent action against her for making "such a statement".
Karandlaje, Convener of the BJP Election Management Committee, also requested the EC to issue direction to register FIR against her and take exemplary punitive action.
"This is an insult to freedom fighters from Karnataka, who fought for India's independence. It is an insult to crores of patriotic Kannadigas, who swear by India and cherish their Indianness," said the Union Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers' Welfare.
The statement would lead to division on the basis of language and statehood, the complaint alleged.