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Karnataka elections campaign ends: Modi’s challenge to Rahul, ‘fake Voter ID drama’, row over Reddy brothers; all that happened

Rally after rally, the two parties launched several attacks on one another over the choice of CM candidates - B S Yeddyurappa of BJP and Siddaramaiah of Congress.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: May 10, 2018 10:36:43 pm
Karnataka Elections 2018: While polling will take place on May 12, counting of votes has been scheduled for May 15. Karnataka Assembly Elections 2018: While polling will take place on May 12, counting of votes has been scheduled for May 15.

The high-voltage campaigning for the crucial Karnataka Assembly elections concluded amid intense drama and continuous allegations and counter-allegations between BJP and Congress on Thursday. Multiple rallies and road shows were held across various constituencies as political parties left no stone unturned to woo voters. The voting will take place on May 12, and the results will be announced on May 15.

Here’s all that happened during the Karnataka poll campaign:

PM Modi vs Rahul Gandhi

Like all state elections, Prime Minister Narendra Modi once again led the BJP’s campaign despite B S Yeddyurappa being declared as its chief ministerial candidate. Not only did he project the Congress’s future as PPP (Punjab, Puducherry and Parivar Congress) post declarations of results but also claimed there was no difference between C for Congress and C for corruption.

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Karnataka Assembly Elections 2018: Prime Minister Narendra Modi at an election campaign rally in Mangaluru. (PTI) Karnataka Assembly Elections 2018: Prime Minister Narendra Modi at an election campaign rally in Mangaluru. (PTI)

The war between the two leaders escalated after Modi challenged Rahul to speak for 15 minutes about the achievements of the Karnataka government in any language, including his “mother’s mother tongue”. “I dare the Congress president to speak in Hindi, English or the mother tongue of his mother to deliver a speech in Karnataka for 15 minutes, without reading out from a piece of paper, on the achievements of the party government…people of Karnataka will draw their own conclusion,” Modi had said.

On the last day of the campaigning, Modi raked up the issue of Sonia Gandhi’s foreign origin. Rahul, however, responded to the PM’s jibe with a sharp retaliation, saying his mother is “more Indian than many Indians I have met”. “My mother is Italian, My mother has lived larger part of her life in India. My mother sacrificed for this country. If the PM likes to abuse her, he may do so if it pleases him,” he told reporters.

Modi also attacked the Congress leader over his ‘ready to become Prime Minister’ remark. He said, “He (Rahul Gandhi) says he wants to be Prime Minister. He declared himself to be Prime Minister in 2019… does this not show that his level of arrogance has reached the seventh heaven.”

Karnataka Assembly Elections 2018: Congress president Rahul Gandhi waves during a public meeting at Bheemanna Khandre Institute of Technology Ground in Aurad. (PTI) Karnataka Assembly Elections 2018: Congress president Rahul Gandhi waves during a public meeting at Bheemanna Khandre Institute of Technology Ground in Aurad. (PTI)

Rahul, on the other hand, took a swipe at the PM for “not holding a press conference in the last four years“. Taking to Twitter after a meeting with journalists, he said, “Enjoyed meeting the regional and national press today in Bengaluru. We had a packed house! I’m sorry not everyone got a chance to ask a question due to the paucity of time.” He added, “But, unlike our PM who hasn’t had a press conference in 4 years, I will be doing many more of these!”

Allegations against CM candidates

Rally after rally, the two parties launched several attacks on one another over the choice of CM candidates – B S Yeddyurappa of BJP and Siddaramaiah of Congress. In most of its public meetings, Congress targeted Yeddyurappa over corruption during his tenure as CM between 2008 and 2013. Congress also pulled up the saffron party over the distribution of tickets to the controversial Reddy brothers, accused of illegal mining.

Modi, on the other hand, repeatedly addressed the Siddaramaiah government as “seedha rupaiah government (a government that takes bribes for work) and “10 per cent commission government”. Reacting to this, Siddaramaiah first called the Modi dispensation a “90 per cent commission government” and then issued legal notices to both Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah, demanding an apology and threatening to file Rs 100 crore civil and criminal defamation suit if they did not tender it.

Sonia Gandhi’s first poll rally in two years

In her first rally in almost two years, Sonia Gandhi accused PM Modi of making wrong statements to woo voters and using freedom fighters like pawns of chess for his political interests. She also targeted Modi over allegations concerning Reddy brothers and about spurt in turnover of a company linked to BJP chief Amit Shah’s son Jay Shah.

Karnataka Assembly Elections 2018: UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi at a rally in Vijaypura on Tuesday. Karnataka Assembly Elections 2018: UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi at a rally in Vijaypura on Tuesday.

Sonia did not campaign in any of the state elections after she fell ill during a roadshow in Varanasi on August 2, 2016. She stayed away from campaigning in Punjab, Goa, Uttarakhand, Manipur (February-March 2017), Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh (December 2017), Tripura, Meghalaya and Nagaland (February 2018) assembly elections. It was the first time since 1998 that she skipped campaigning.

Amit Shah’s confidence of 130 plus seats

Karnataka Assembly Elections 2018: BJP chief Amit Shah addressed the media in Bengaluru on Thursday. (Photo: Twitter/@AmitShah) Karnataka Assembly Elections 2018: BJP chief Amit Shah addressed the media in Bengaluru on Thursday. (Photo: Twitter/@AmitShah)

BJP chief Amit Shah on Thursday expressed confidence of winning more than 130 seats in the upcoming Karnataka Assembly elections and forming the next government and said “there is no question of seeking or giving support to anyone”. While describing the Siddaramaiah-led government as “most unsuccessful in last five years, the BJP chief said the Congress “will face failure when it comes to government formation this time”.

Recovery of fake voter id cards

With just three days left for polling, recovery of nearly 10,000 “fake” voter ID cards from a flat in Rajrajeshwari Assembly seat added new twist to the poll campaign. While the BJP demanded countermanding of the election claiming Congress was behind the racket, the grand old party dismissed the charge as a “lie”.

Both parties claimed the flat belonged to a woman associated with the rival party. Union minister Prakash Javadekar, addressing a press conference, claimed Congress candidate and sitting MLA Munirathna Naidu was behind the alleged racket, which was exposed by BJP worker Rakesh. Countering BJP’s claim, Congress spokesman Rajdeep Singh Surjawala alleged that the flat owner Manjula Nanjamari and Rakesh had BJP connections and both contested Bengaluru Municipal Corporation elections on the tickets of the saffron party.

Top ministers monitored BJP rallies

From Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath to Union minister Piyush Goyal, BJP had roped in some of its top ministers and leaders for rallies and roadshows across the state. However, CM Yogi was forced to cut short his trip to Karnataka amid opposition flak for staying away from his own state after a storm killed more than 70 people.

Union Ministers Nirmala Sitharaman, Ananth Kumar, Prakash Javadekar, DV Sadananda Gowda, Anurag Thakur, Krishnapal Gujjar and Santosh Gangwar were among other senior leaders who addressed around 50 mega road shows across the state.

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