Continuing his attack on the Congress in the last lap of the Karnataka poll campaign, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday slammed it over corruption, and asserted that the party will become “Punjab, Puducherry, Parivar” Congress “after its defeat” in the state Assembly polls.
The Siddaramaiah government, the Prime Minister said, had become a “corruption tank” for the Congress, with a pipeline connected to Delhi. He also accused the top Congress leadership of auctioning tickets, party positions and the chief minister’s post.
“After the helicopter scam, coal scam, CWG scam and many others, the Congress has now started a tender system… The Congress delayed distributing tickets because they have a tender system for leadership and the party will make any person who can fund the party the most the chief minister. There is a tender system for the CM position,” Modi said. LIVE UPDATES
At an election rally in Gadag, Modi said, “After May 15 the Congress will be known as the ‘PPP’ Congress, that is Punjab Puducherry and Parivar Congress. When the Congress loses the polls, it will become a regional party.”
He also claimed that while the Congress had seen a string of electoral losses, it was not as worried as now, at the prospect of a “defeat” in Karnataka. “I will tell you why… Because their ministers and leaders in Karnataka have built a tank here. A part of money looted from people is taken home and the rest is put in that tank. The tank is linked to Delhi through a pipeline, which carries the money directly to Delhi… They are worried about what will happen to the party if this government goes,” the PM said.
He also coined yet another name for Congress Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, who has been the focus of his attack, saying his government was “seedha rupaiah sarkar (straight money government)”.
“Money is bad,” he noted, referring to “what saint poet Shishunala Sharifa once said”. But for Karnataka’s Congress government, he said, it is “Baap bada na bhaiya, sab se bada rupaiya (nothing, not even family, comes before money).” And when it comes to Siddaramaiah, Modi added, this takes a new twist: “Baap bhi bada, bhaiya bhi bada aur us se bhi upar rupiya… seedha seedha rupaiya (Relations are important, money is even more important… it’s all about money).”
Reacting soon after on social media, Siddaramaiah said the Congress indeed stood for ‘three Ps’ — “Of the people, By the People, For the People”. For the BJP the three Ps were ‘Prison’, ‘Price rise’ and ‘Pakodas’, he said.
Speaking in a region where farmers have been agitating for over a thousand days seeking resolution of the Mahadayi river dispute, the PM accused the Congress of politicising the matter. “The biggest example of the lies of the Congress is the politics over the pure waters of the Mahadayi. The Congress has made it an emotive issue and is misleading the people,” he said.
“In 2007, when the Goa elections were on, the Congress provoked the people of Goa and Sonia Gandhi said — the Karnataka Chief Minister may not be aware of this — that the Congress is committed to protecting the Mahadayi waters. Now the Congress is out of power in Goa and so it is now provoking people in Karnataka,” Modi said. “The Congress procrastinated on the issue and sent it to a tribunal. We will not allow the issue to linger on to the next generation and we will sit together and resolve it.”
However, the Centre has been ignoring multiple requests from Karnataka to call a meeting of the three states party to the dispute, Karnataka, Goa and Maharashtra, to try and resolve it — a fact Siddaramaiah underlined on Saturday.
Speaking at a massive rally in the coastal city of Mangaluru later in the day, Modi accused the Congress of blaming EVMs every time it loses an election. “When they lose, they say it is the fault of the EVMs, that it is not Modi who defeated them. When they win, there is no problem with the EVMs.”
The “EVM of the people” — “Energy”, “Electoral Value addition” and “Motivation” — will defeat the Congress in the Assembly polls, he said.
At a rally in Shivamogga, the PM criticised the Congress for attacking the BJP’s CM candidate, B S Yeddyurappa, “ignoring his age and commitment to society”. Shivamogga is the home district of Yeddyurappa. Hitting out at Congress leaders for making “fun” of Yeddyurappa’s visit to homes of deprived sections, Modi said it amounted to ridiculing the poor.
He also accused the Congress of following the British policy of divide and rule. “Do you do the right thing by making a distinction between criminals on the basis of caste, sect and tradition? Is it right to say a criminal is innocent on the basis of sect and tradition?… I want to ask Karnataka’s Congress government that gave protection to killers of innocent BJP workers from the ‘ABC’ of communalism — PFI, SIMI and others… these alphabets of violence… Who gave this saugat (gift) to Karnataka?”
(With PTI inputs)