After posters and flexes put up to welcome Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra were seen torn in Karnataka’s Gundlupet area Thursday, the Congress and the BJP exchanged heated words.
Rahul Gandhi will begin the 21-day Karnataka leg of his Bharat Jodo Yatra Friday and is set to travel by foot 511 kilometres in seven districts of the state.
The Congress alleged that BJP workers were tearing flexes and hoardings related to Bharat Jodo Yatra. Congress national general secretary Randeep Singh Surjewala tweeted: “The 40% Commission Bommai Govt is already getting the jitters. BJP’s “Bharat Todo Team” of paid goons has been pressed into service to destruct, destroy and tear up posters. They’ll never be able to stop the war cry against Price Rise, Unemployment, Disparity & Divisiveness.”
Karnataka Congress chief DK Shivakumar said, “if they (BJP) think that this is a good job, Congress will not be hurt or afraid even if you shoot or stab. If I decide, they will not be able to do any programme across the state. The Congress can teach them better. I am warning the chief minister and (BJP) workers as it will not put you in a good light.”
Reacting to Shivakumar’s statement, Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai asked who was doing Bharat ‘jodo’ and ‘thodo’. “Let Shivakumar say whatever, but permission must be obtained for putting up flex. The BJP does not need to tear the flex of any political party. Since people knew everything, there was no need for him to say much about it,” said Bommai in Haveri.
Replying to a question on a section of litterateurs supporting Bharat Jodo Yatra, Bommai said in the country, there are litterateurs on both the sides and while some support the Congress, another section supports the BJP.
Bommai said even though the Centre banned Popular Front of India (PFI), there are different offshoots of the organisation. “The Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) is a registered political party with the Election Commission of India and so far, the Centre has not taken any decision about it. Action will be taken depending upon the developments in the coming days,” he said.
On Leader of Opposition in the State Legislative Council BK Hariprasad’s statement that the ban on the PFI was a political stunt and election gimmick, Bommai said: “Several disruptive activities and murders had taken place all these years and everything is before their eyes. Besides, the banned organisation supported terrorist activities. The Congress had demanded the banning of the PFI both inside the House and the outside. It was up to Hariprasad to think, is it correct of his party to now call it a gimmick?”
Asked about the Karnataka government seeking two acres of land in Goa for the construction of Kannada Bhavan, the chief minister said he had spoken to his Goa counterpart as well as written to him. The Goa chief minister promised to identify suitable land for the same, he added.