Soon after the BJP emerged as the single largest party in Karnataka elections, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday took the battle to the opposition, especially the Congress, stating that the results show the hollowness in the perception created about the BJP being largely a “north Indian party”.
Stating that language never become a barrier between him and the people of Karnataka, during his campaigning in the state, Modi said, “A perception was created in the country that the BJP is a party of north India — a party of only Hindi-speaking states. Neither Gujarat, nor Maharashtra, Goa, Assam and not any state of the Northeast are Hindi-speaking, but a perception was created. And such lies are spread again and again.”
Addressing a gathering of party workers at BJP’s central headquarters here, Modi said people of Karnataka have given a jolt to those with such “distorted thinking”. But the BJP, he asserted, is a party spread in each corner of the country, and dedicated to resolve problems of every region. He said the country will now move shoulder to shoulder with Karnataka on its path of development, and that the BJP will never let development of Karnataka be affected.
Without naming the Congress, Modi said no one had imagined that the political party that was in power at the Centre for so many years since freedom will hurt the country’s federal structure, the spirit of federalism, and even the Constitution only for electoral politics and self-interest.
He said Karnataka had a great impact on him, and admitted that the lack of knowledge of languages in various states was a hurdle for him. “But the people of Karnataka gave me so much love that language was never a barrier,” he said.
Addressing the party workers earlier, Shah pointed out that Karnataka would be the BJP’s 15th straight victory. Noting that the BJP emerged as the single largest party but fell seven seats short of the halfway mark, the BJP chief said, “All Congress people are happy that the BJP did no get absolute majority. I want to tell them that people of Karnataka have reduced their seats from 122 to 77 — the Congress has lost.”
He said, “Your Chief Minister himself lost from his traditional seat and won with a narrow margin of only around 1,700 votes on another seat. Half your Cabinet members have lost.” Shah accused the Congress of having always contested elections in Karnataka in “most immoral ways”. He said: “First they took support of SDPI and PFI, (Islamic) organiations that are involved in anti-national activities and are a threat to the country’s security. You tried to contest the election by taking support of such organsiations for vote-bank politics. You come with a proposal to give minority status to Lingayats. The division on caste lines the Congress started after Rahul Gandhi become party president…the party attempted the same caste politics here as well.”
The PM also extended condolences to families of the deceased in Varanasi accident in which an under-construction collapsed, leaving at least 16 people dead. “I am happy with the Karnataka victory but I am saddened by the loss of lives in Varanasi,” he said.