Bengaluru: Throwing weight behind Vijayapura MLA Basanagouda Patil Yatnal, BJP leaders in Karnataka rallied in support of the leader amid a controversy over his remarks that centenarian freedom fighter HS Doreswamy was a "Pakistani agent" even as Congress mounted its attack on Yatnal demanding action against him.

The saffron party leaders have extended support to Yatnal, days after he called Doreswamy a "fake freedom fighter" who behaves like a "Pakistani agent".

Yatnal made the comments at a press conference on February 25 while reacting to a query on a public meeting ''Save the Constitution'' organised by the Congress.

"There are many fake freedom fighters. There is one in Bengaluru. Now we have to say what Doreswamy is. Where is that old man? He behaves like a Pakistan agent," Patil had said. 

"Doreswamy is an elderly person and senior to all. He had participated in various agitations. He should also see what to talk and who will be hurt with those statements. We all have seen what he had said about Prime Minister Narendra Modi," Primary and secondary education minister S Suresh Kumar told reporters in Kodagu on Saturday reacting to Yatnal's outburst against Doreswamy.

Noting that the statements were made in bad taste, Kumar said, "If you speak in an unpleasant manner, you will hear only the unpleasant." Ballari city MLA G Somashekara Reddy too backed Yatnal saying that his statement was appropriate.

"There is nothing wrong in his statement. It is absolutely correct. I support him. It is not just okay to be a freedom fighter but he should be a ''Deshbhakt'' (patriot) too, who respects the unity and integrity of the nation," Reddy said.

On Friday, another BJP minister KS Eshwarappa slammed Doreswamy alleging that he had visited Amulya Leona's residence and was in good relationship with her family.

Amulya had raised ''Pakistan Zindabad'' slogans at an anti-CAA event here on February 21, taking everybody present by shock and dismay.

"We respect Doreswamy but he dances to the tune of Congress and supports whatever their leaders say," Eshwarappa alleged.

Condemning Yatnal’s statement against Doreswamy, Congress workers staged a demonstration against Yatnal, demanding action against him.

Holding placards which carried messages advising Yatnal to have control over his language, the party workers raised slogans. 

With PTI Inputs