The war of words between the BJP and Congress in poll-bound Karnataka escalated Wednesday with BJP president Amit Shah labelling the Congress’s state government as “anti-Hindu” during a pre-election speech in the Holalkere region of Chitradurga. Earlier in the day, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had hit out at the BJP, RSS and Bajrang Dal, claiming “they are themselves terrorists”. Congress state working president Dinesh Gundu Rao alleged that many BJP activists were “involved in crimes”.
Speaking at a Karnataka Navanirmana rally, Shah stuck to a template that he has used in previous pre-election speeches in the state and attacked Siddaramaiah’s government for alleged diversion of central funds and failure to control killings of activists from the BJP, RSS and its affiliates. “As many as 21 BJP and RSS workers have been killed in Karnataka in the last three years and the government is not even investigating it. When BJP comes to power, it will send all the people to jail. This government is an anti-Hindu government,’’ Shah said.
The statement was made by the BJP president despite all cases of killings of Hindutva activists being cracked by Karnataka Police or being handed to the NIA as demanded by the BJP. “They have withdrawn cases against activists of the PFI (Popular Front of India) but have filed cases against Hindus for issues like Ganesh festival banners and buntings. The government is playing vote bank politics and they need to be removed from power,’’ Shah alleged.
On corruption, Shah claimed that the NDA government had provided Rs 3 lakh crore in funds to Karnataka, which has not been passed onto the public.
“The BJP has started many schemes for development in the country. The Karnataka Chief Minister asks what the Narendra Modi government has done for Karnataka. The Modi government has increased fund allocation for Karnataka from the 13th finance commission allocation from Rs 88,583 crore to Rs 2.19 crore allocation following the 14th finance commission under the BJP,’’ he said.
“In all, the BJP government has provided Rs 3 lakh crore to Karnataka. Has the money reached the people of the state?” the BJP president said.
Shah alleged that Siddaramaiah was able to wear a watch worth Rs 70 lakh by using public money. He also alleged corruption by the Congress in the Malaprabha irrigation project, a cancelled steel bridge project, solar power projects and denotification of land. A list of scams of the Congress would take a week to read in its entirety, he alleged.
Earlier, speaking to reporters in Chamarajanagara, Siddaramaiah referred to the BJP and RSS, and said, “They are themselves terrorists in the BJP and RSS. The government will show no leniency to anyone involved in terror activities, whether it is the Bajrang Dal or the PFI. It is the government’s job to ensure communal harmony and it will not tolerate anyone who disturbs the peace in the state, be it the PFI, SDPI, Bajrang Dal or the VHP.”
He was referring to the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI), the political wing of the PFI, a Muslim extremist outfit.
Gundu Rao said, “We have arrested PFI and SDPI people involved in attacks. They are demanding a ban on the PFI and SDPI for their involvement in communal crimes. By that yardstick, we will have to ban the Sangh Parivar, the Bajrang Dal, the PFI, the SDPI, which are all involved in such crimes. Many BJP activists are themselves involved in crimes.”