Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Monday accused BJP of creating friction between communities and ‘igniting” fire, as he ramped up his attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his campaign in poll-bound Karnataka. “Wherever there is a BJP government like the ones in Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, violence prevails,” he alleged at a public rally here on the third day of his first leg of campaign in north Karnataka. He said, “at some places, they kill Dalits, minorities and tribals. They pit one section of society against another and ignite fire. In Haryana they pitted Jat against non-Jat. And they come here and talk about violence,” he said.
“Peace prevails here Modiji. Go and see what is happening in UP, Haryana, Maharashtra and Rajasthan. There is violence which is being spread. So don’t talk about violence and corruption when you visit Karnataka. People of Karnataka are intelligent and they know everything,” he said. Gandhi asserted that Congress believed in taking everyone together and moving forward.
The Congress president, who addressed public and roadside meetings in Raichur and Kalaburagi districts, continued his attack on Modi, saying he should speak about allegations of corruption against BJP president Amit Shah’s son. Gandhi,on a four-day ‘Janashirvad Yatra’, said Modi should look “left and right” before talking of corruption. “If you want to talk about corruption, talk a bit about Amit Shah son’s corruption. How he made Rs 80 crore out of Rs 50,000 in three months. You should also be telling this to the country,” he said.
Amit Shah has rejected allegations of corruption against his son Jay Shah, who has filed a criminal defamation suit against the news portal which claimed his business fortunes had zoomed after BJP came to power in 2014. Addressing people who had gathered to welcome him before he continued his campaign in the state’s Hyderabad-Karnataka region, Gandhi also lashed out at BJP leaders in the state.
“Modiji you talk of corruption. Modiji, if you have some time after talking of the past, look at your left and right sides….” “On one side is (B S) Yeddyurappa who has been to jail. On the other side, as many as four (former) ministers who went to jail… and behind, 11 leaders who had to resign on charges of corruption,” he said. Gandhi said Modi had “failed” to create jobs and address farmer distress.
“Modiji, people of this country gave you work, farmers had given you work, youth had told you that our competition is with China. China provides job to 50,000 youths in 24 hours. Modiji has failed,” he said. Travelling in a customised bus along with other leaders from the state, Gandhi was greeted by party workers and people who lined up on both sides of the road at various places.
Speaking to reporters at Shahpur in Yadgir district, Gandhi, who is facing the charge of practising “soft Hindutva”, defended his visits to temples and religious places, asserting that he would continue it. “I like going to temples, wherever I get religious place I go there. I feel good and feel happy, and I will continue (to go),” he said. Gandhi was responding to BJP state President B S Yeddyurappa’s “Election Hindu” jibe at him.
“I heartily welcome #ElectionHindu @OfficeOfRG to Ballari. The #Congress President will fulfill our dream of a #CongressMuktKarnataka,”Yeddyurappa had said in a tweet,ahead of Gandhi’s visit to the state from February 10. Gandhi’s temple run in his election itinerary,which began in the run-up to the Gujarat assembly polls, has invited flak from BJP, which has dubbed it as an election exercise. Other critics have called it “soft Hindutva.”
The Hyderabad-Karnataka region comprises districts of Bidar, Yadgir, Raichur, Koppal, Ballari and Kalaburagi which were part of the Nizam-ruled Hyderabad state till 1948. Gandhi will wind up his tour on Tuesday, interacting with professionals and business community and a visit to “Anubhava Mantapa’ at Basavakalyan in Bidar, akin to Parliament, started by 12th century social reformer Basavanna.