The BJP on Monday alleged the state administration was not allowing it to campaign freely and was applying rules selectively to create “favourable conditions” for the ruling Congress in the May 12 Karnataka assembly elections. Party president Amit Shah was disallowed from garlanding a statue of B R Ambedkar during poll campaign and its workers were not even allowed to hoist party flags atop their houses, BJP General Secretary in-charge of Karnataka Muralidhar Rao told reporters at Bengaluru.
He alleged state officials involved in the election work had threatened the party workers and asked them to remove the flags. Taking note of this, the BJP has decided to launch a statewide “namma mane BJP mane (our house is BJP house)” campaign on April 25 where the party workers will hoist party flags atop their houses. As many as 11 lakh party workers would participate in the campaign, he added. Rao also claimed the BJP workers were not allowed to have food in its party meetings, though the election manuals had not prescribed any such rules.
Airing several other grievances, Rao alleged that the administration gave permission for Shah to garland a statue of 12th century social reformer Basavanna here recently after a long delay. “The administration harassed us, and only gave permission for our national president to garland Sant Basavanna’s statue a few hours before (the scheduled event),” he said.
Rao also charged election officials with illegally defacing the party’s promotional writings on the walls of” house owners asking people to vote for BJP. The Election Commission was expected to conduct a free and fair elections, and maintain neutrality, but officials close to Siddaramaiah occupying top posts in the state (and involved in election work) were misusing their positions and creating a favourable condition for Congress, he alleged. He also alleged that the administration was not allowing BJP to erect its hoardings in commercial places. Referring to Chief Minister Siddaramaiah contesting from Badami constituency in addition to Chamundeshwari, Rao said BJP would not allow him to win from the second seat and create such a battle the people would love to see.
“We will not allow Siddaramaiah to win in Badami. The party workers and its cadre are highly motivated in Badami. We are going to create such a fight which people of Karnataka will love to see. Siddaramaiah will meet the same fate in Badami like he would in Chamundeshwari,” he claimed. On tainted mining baron Janardhana Reddy sharing dais in BJP campaigns with party candidate and his brother Somasekhar Reddy, Rao said he had not been included in the list of BJP’s poll campaign. “But he, like many people, has been campaigning on his own. Amit Shahji has already given a statement on it,” he added. He also sought to dismiss questions over Somasekhar Reddy’s nomination.
“I cannot understand how Somasekhar Reddy’s candidature amounts to a crime. What is the connection between Somasekhar Reddy getting ticket and Janardhan Reddy?” he asked. Rao said the party was preparing poll campaign plans for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Shah in coming days. Also participating in the campaigns will be senior leaders including Rajnath Singh, Nitin Gadkari, Sushma Swaraj, Yogi Adityanath, Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Devendra Fadnavis, Raman Singh, Smriti Irani and Uma Bharati, Rao said.