Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah Saturday addressed a gathering of about 800 people at the Kalidas Educational Society in Badami, in north Karnataka, where he is contesting from against BJP MP B Sriramulu. Hitting out at what he claimed was communal and divisive politics on the part of the BJP, Siddaramaiah said the choice was between assured development and communal violence.
“No other party has done as much work as we have in the last five years. We have performed at all levels, even bringing development to ‘microscopic communities’ such as the Bohvis and the Savita Samaj,” he said. “If you elect us again we will continue to do the work we have been and alleviate poverty by bringing poor communities into the middle class.” Badami is one of the two seats Siddaramaiah is contesting. He is also standing from Chamundeshwari constituence in Mysuru.
Questioning the “hollow promises” of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Siddaramaiah said if the BJP was serious about secularism, tickets would have been given to Muslims and Hindus too.
“It is not Sabka Sath, Sabka Vikas. It is Sabka Sath, Sabka Vinash,” the incumbent Chief Minister said.
“The BJP is known for lighting a fire between religious communities. Would you want to elect them?” he said, addressing the people of Badami.
Chandrashekharappa, a Siddaramaiah supporter at the rally said,” He is from our community — the Kuruba community. We will always support our leader. He has given children free milk in schools, provided free books and good education. Now he is providing free education. What have the others done for us? How has Sriramulu got so much money?”
Interestingly, Sanganabasava Swamiji, president of Shivayogi Mandir did not show up when Siddaramaiah visited the temple this evening, with temple authorities saying he was out of station and that they were not intimated in advance.
Sources, however, say the temple is that of the Veerashaiva-Lingayat Community and opposes the decision to create a separate Lingayat religion. The Swamiji was present last week when Sriramulu visited it.
The Badami seat was won by Congress’ Chimmanakatti Balappa Bhimappa in 2013. He defeated JD(S) candidate Mahantesh Mamadapur by about 5,000 votes. The BJP stood third, winning 21.79 per cent of the vote share. In the 2008 Assembly election, the BJP had won the seat securing 44.85 per cent of the votes while the Congress came second with 40.56 per cent vote share.