Virtually setting the ball rolling for next year’s assembly elections in Karnataka,Congress President Sonia Gandhi today launched a scathing attack on the ruling BJP and asked her party men to set aside individual ambitions and work together to bring it back to power.
“People want a change from the political corruption and the corruption of the BJP. And they want a change from the divisive communal politics of the BJP”,she told the delegates of a Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee meeting here.
For so many reasons,the people were disenchanted with BJP,she said adding the so called “party with a difference” had been fully exposed and its “double standards” on corruption and political corruption are more than apparent to the people.
Gandhi said for the past so many years,the Congress had not been able to receive people’s mandate in Karnataka for “many,many reasons including party’s own weaknesses”.
Congress is not able to convert people’s goodwill into electoral success,she said.
Gandhi told the Congress leaders that individual ambition should not come in the way of the party’s larger interests. Party must come first and the overriding objective must be to bring the party back to power.
On a rare visit to the state to rejuvenate the Congress which has been out of power for last six years,Gandhi participated in the 105th birthday celebrations of Siddaganga Math head Sri Sri Shivakumara Swami who has a large following among the dominant Lingayat community,in a bid to woo it back to the Congress.
Former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa belongs to the Lingayat community.
In a blistering attack against the BJP,Gandhi said its Government had betrayed the mandate of the people and destroyed all what Karnataka stood for and is known for.
The BJP government had “scant respect” for rule of law,she said,noting that the post of Lokayukta had remained vacant in Karnataka for almost an year in contrast to UPA’s determination to enact a strong Lokpal bill which was “held up in Rajya Sabha by the BJP”.
Gandhi said the recent victory of the party in the Udupi-Chikmagalur Loksabha bypoll very much reflected the desire of the people for a change.
In the byelection,party workers and senior leaders worked together after a long time,she said.
“This victory has shown when our entire party organisation works in unity,nobody can defeat us. Nobdody can defeat us”,she said.
Noting that the victory of late Indira Gandhi from the then Chikmagalur constituency in 1978 helped revive the Congress,she said if all the party workers and leaders work together,this (recent) victory would help its revival in Karnataka.
Senior leaders S M Krishna,Mallikarjun Kharge,M Veerappa Moily,Siddaramaiah,Motamma,KPCC President G Parameshwara and Oscar Fernandes were among those present.
Gandhi said the party leaders must resolve today to work together with the junior workers. “That is the only way we will be able to regain trust of the people and bring back the party to power in Karnataka”.
She said during the seven years of the UPA government,Karnataka received an allocation of almost Rs 98,000 crore,which is more than what it got during the NDA regime.
The Congress-led state government then had to go before NDA ministers “like beggars to get what was their right” and BJP typically treated it as a political issue”,she lamented.
Unlike this,she said,UPA Government did not make a differentiation between Congress and non-Congress governments at the state level as “we are serving the people of India”.