The BJP in Karnataka on Friday attacked Chief Minister Siddaramaiah for turning down an invitation from its Prime Minister-designate Narendra Modi to attend the oath-taking ceremony in New Delhi on May 26, where Modi will be sworn in.
Even as the BJP in Karnataka tweeted on Saturday morning, “Prime Minister-designate Narendra Modi sends invitation to Karnataka CM to attend the PM’s swearing-in ceremony on 26th…”, the Karnataka chief minister indicated that he would not attend the ceremony.
Reacting to the chief minister’s response, former BJP deputy chief minister R Ashok stated that Siddaramaiah was reluctant to attend the swearing-in when the Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif himself had accepted the invitation to attend the ceremony.
“He should accept the invitation and attend the swearing in. He will be accorded great respect. The Prime Minister of Pakistan has accepted the invitation to be at the swearing in function but the chief minister of Karnataka has not accepted the invitation,” Ashok said when asked by the media for a response to the chief minister’s decision to stay away from the event on May 26.
Despite contributing nine seats to the Congress’s national kitty, Siddaramaiah is the lone Congress chief minister alongside Kerala’s Oommen Chandy to hold their own to some extent as the ‘Modi wave’ engulfed most states in its wake.
Following the election results, the Congress is in the throes of a blame game with several losing candidates in Karnataka blaming leaders within their own party, including MLAs of backstabbing them in the course of the Lok Sabha elections. Siddaramaiah suffered the ignominy of a defeat for his candidate in his home region of Mysore at the hands of a BJP candidate as well.
In the course of the election campaign, Siddaramaiah had been one of the most vocal attackers of Modi – calling the then Gujarat chief minister a mass murderer and receiving a rap from the Election Commission for the statements.
“I will not apologize for the remark I made. It was not aimed at Modi. More than 2,000 people died in the state of Gujarat in the riots in 2002 and the government administration of the state was responsible for this mass murder,’’ Siddaramaiah had said after being pulled up by the EC.
The chief minister is scheduled on Monday to inaugurate a long pending road underpass project near the Indian Institute of Science, inspect roads being built under the new Tender SURE scheme and hand out the Kittur Rani Chennama awards.