Updated: May 8, 2018 9:36:30 pm
Raising political temperatures in what is perceived as a close fight in Karnataka which goes to polls on May 12, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday attacked each other and left no stones unturned to woo the electorate in the state.
The face-off came in the district associated with Lord Basaveshwara, a 12th century social reformer and philosopher who founded the Lingayat religious order. Both the parties are making hard efforts to woo the numerically-significant community.
Prime Minister Modi, who addressed a rally in the afternoon, made a sharp attack at Congress chief Rahul Gandhi and his mother Sonia, saying that the party was being destroyed to save a dynasty. “One thing is clear that the dynasty furthering which the Congress destroyed the nation, today to save that dynasty, Congress party is getting destroyed”, he said.
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With the UPA chairperson set to address a rally in Vijayapura hours after him, Modi had taken a dig at Rahul, saying even leaders in his party doubted his ability to steer the Congress to victory in Karnataka. “Even Congress leaders have begun to feel that the son would not be able to help the party win Karnataka. I saw a Congress leader’s interview. So, send the mother to ensure its candidates can at least save their security deposits,” Modi said.
Modi targeted the ruling Siddaramaiah government, saying there was not even a single minister “who has not faced allegations of corruption.” “If you bring the mother (Sonia) to Karnataka and she does something, then maybe the deposits can be saved. This is what Congress leaders have started speaking,” he said.
Sonia Gandhi, who addressed a rally in the evening, accused PM Modi of making wrong statements and using freedom fighters like pawns of chess for his political interests.
“The country is surprised that wherever he goes he speaks wrong. He distorts history, and for his political selfishness he uses our great freedom fighters as pawns on the chess board,” said Gandhi who held her first election rally in two years. “PM Modi is “possessed by the devil” of Congress-mukt Bharat, and his only accomplishment in the last four years is to have undone the good work of the previous Congress governments.”
She said all sections of society were facing problems, and questioned Modi on his “favorite promise” of ending corruption. “Modi ji is proud that he can make speeches well. I agree he is a good orator. He speaks like an actor. If speeches could fill the country’s stomach, I wish he gave more speeches,” she said, taking a swipe at the prime minister.
She accused Modi government of not fulfilling its promises. “Which promise has been fulfilled. What has Modi ji done for the farmers, what has he done for employment to youth, what did he do for the middle class. Modi ji what did you do for security of women, children, backward classes, dalits and minorities”,” she asked.
Gandhi 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. “What is his model of ending corruption. Wherever he addresses rallies in Karnataka, there are people around him. Will you adopt their model or you will adopt model of your closest associate,” she said.
In a rally at Koppal, Modi took a dig at Rahul Gandhi saying one who is born with a golden spoon would never understand the difficulties of the poor and the importance of Swachh Bharat campaign. Modi said the BJP believes in “Rashtra Bhakti” and serving the society unlike” the Congress “whose only concern”is one family.”
Addressing his last public meeting in Bengaluru, PM Modi accused Siddaramaiah of handing over Bengaluru to the infamous trio and wondered why CM dislikes Bengaluru. “I do not understand why CM Siddaramaiah dislikes Bengaluru. He has handed over Bengaluru to an infamous trio- and we all know this trio- we also know they have been given charge of this city due to vote bank politics. This trio excels in all the wrong things,” said PM Modi.
“Congress government has left no stone unturned to being the city of Bengaluru a bad name. Girls are not safe in broad daylight; Bengaluru cannot sustain a few minutes of rainfall; long traffic jams are detrimental to everyday work. Under the Congress government, Bengaluru’s infrastructure is crumbling. Women’s safety is not a priority for the state government,” he added.
He further stated that there is a fundamental difference between the NDA and the UPA governments. “For them, only ribbon-cutting is working, whereas we work hard until the last mile,” he said. “Karnataka needs a receptive government to reap the benefits that the entire nation is getting,” he concluded.
(With inputs from agencies)
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