Congress leader Siddaramaiah loses cool, slaps supporter

Bengaluru: Former Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah lost his cool on Wednesday and slapped a supporter at Mysuru airport when asked to speak over phone to a Congress leader, with a video of the incident going viral.

As his act drew criticism, Siddaramaiah and the supporter sought to play it down with the latter describing the former as a father figure and saying he slapped him out of affection. The incident occurred at the Mysuru airport when Siddaramaiah was leaving it after an interaction with the media during which he condemned the arrest of senior party leader D K Shivakumar, party sources said.

As he was leaving, his supporter Nandanahalli Ravi tried to give a mobile phone asking him to speak to Mari Gowda, a senior Congress leader, they said. A visually irked Siddaramaiah slapped him, an act which was caught on camera and the visuals went viral, drawing flak on the social media.

In an apparent damage control exercise, Ravi later issued a clarification saying Siddaramaiahs slap was out of affection. Please don’t take it otherwise. Siddaramaiah is like my father and he slapped me treating me like his son, he said.

Siddaramaiah too said Ravi was like his son and he had been guiding him for long time. “Nadanahalli Ravi is like my son. I have been his guide for long time & there are many such followers with me. There will always be instances of me expressing affection & dissatisfaction out of concern. Today’s incident is one such thing but was blown out of proportion,” he tweeted.

The former chief minister had courted a controversy in January this year when he snatched the microphone from a woman during a wordy duel resulting in her dupatta getting dislodged at an event in Varuna in Mysuru. After a video of the incident, during a public interaction organised by him, went viral, Siddaramaiah had said it was accidental, devoid of any mal-intent and that the woman was like his sister.