All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen chief Asaduddin Owaisi on Monday criticised the Karnataka minister who said that the BJP will not give a ticket to any Muslim candidate for the bye-polls to the Belagavi Lok Sabha seat.

“Disgusting & shameful, but not surprising,” Owaisi tweeted in response to Karnataka minister KS Eshwarappa’s remark. “Hindutva believes that only 1 community has the right to political power & all others are subservient. This ideology cannot co-exist with our Constitution, which talks about liberty, fraternity, equality & justice.”

Eshwarappa, who holds the rural development portfolio in the Karnataka Cabinet, said that Belagavi was a centre of Hindutva and fielding a Muslim candidate from there was out of the question. “Whether we give [the ticket] to Kurubas or Lingayats or Vokkaligas or Brahmins, we will not give to a Muslim,” the minister said. “We will give tickets to Hindutva proponents, I don’t know whether we will give it to followers of Sangolli Rayanna, Kittur Chennamma [freedom fighters] or Shankaracharya.”

The election to the Belgavi was necessitated after the death of Union minister Suresh Angadi due to the coronavirus. He served as the minister of state for railways and also held several positions in the BJP. The Election Commission is yet to announce the date of the bye-poll.

Eshwarappa had made a similar comment ahead of the Lok Sabha elections in 2019. He had said that the BJP will not give tickets to Muslim candidates in the state as the community did not trust them.

Several other BJP leaders have also made similar comments in the run up to the Hyderabad municipal elections, which are being held on Tuesday. The saffron party had called in heavyweights such as Home Minister Amit Shah and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath for campaigning for the civic body polls.