Karnataka: Rahul Gandhi lauds opposition unity to defeat BJP, says PM Modi leads like a ‘dictator’https://indianexpress.com/elections/karnataka-assembly-elections-2018-rahul-gandhi-lauds-opposition-unity-to-defeat-bjp-says-pm-modi-leads-like-a-dictator5183187/

Karnataka: Rahul Gandhi lauds opposition unity to defeat BJP, says PM Modi leads like a ‘dictator’

A combative Rahul Gandhi took on Narendra Modi, accusing the Prime Minister of "directly authorising purchasing of MLAs in Karnataka."

Karnataka: Rahul Gandhi lauds opposition unity to defeat BJP, says PM Modi leads like a 'dictator'
Rahul Gandhi addressing presser in New Delhi after BS Yeddyurappa resigned as Karnataka CM. (Express photo by Amit Mehra)

Minutes after BS Yeddyurappa’s three-day-old government collapsed in Karnataka, Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday launched a blistering attack on the Narendra Modi-led central government and congratulated the opposition for standing together to defeat the BJP. “I am proud that opposition stood together and defeated the BJP and we will continue to do so,” Rahul Gandhi said while addressing a press conference at the AICC Headquarters in New Delhi.

A combative Rahul Gandhi took on Narendra Modi, accusing the Prime Minister of “directly authorising purchasing of MLAs in Karnataka.” “You’ve seen openly how the PM directly authorized purchasing of MLAs in Karnataka, so the idea that PM spreads in the country that he is fighting corruption, is a blatant lie, he is corruption,” the Congress chief said, adding that PM’s model of leadership is of a “dictator”.

His comments were in reference to a slew of audio clips the Congress released wherein it alleged horse trading by BJP leaders, including Yeddyurappa. The BJP, however, rejected the charge, calling the tape the job of “mimicry artistes” and the “dirty tricks department” of the Congress.

READ | Karnataka Assembly Floor Test LIVE UPDATES: Yeddyurappa resigns as CM, Rahul underlines House gaffe

“Prime Minister’s model of leadership is not that of a democratic person, it is that of a dictator. Everybody knows that. Supreme court knows, even PM himself knows that,” Gandhi said.

In a dramatic turn of events, Yeddyurappa stepped down as Chief Minister without facing a trust vote. “I am going to resign as chief minister….I will go to Raj Bhavan and submit my resignation,” he told the Assembly after an emotionally-charged speech. The 75-year-old Lingayat stalwart’s resignation paves way for the formation of a government led by JD(S) state chief H D Kumaraswamy, who has the backing of the Congress. The newly-formed alliance has claimed support of 117 MLAs in the 224-member House with an effective strength of 221.

Gandhi also accused the BJP and RSS of attacking the country’s institutions. “Did you notice that after the entire exercise in Karnataka Vidhan Sabha, the BJP legislators and speaker chose to leave the house before the national anthem? It shows they can disrespect any institution if in power, both BJP & RSS have disrespected institutions,” the Congress president said. “My message to the Prime Minister is that he is not bigger than the institutions of his country, not bigger than the people of his country, not bigger than the courts in this country.”

ALSO READ | Before floor test, BS Yeddyurappa resigns as Karnataka Chief Minister

The Karnataka assembly elections, held on May 12, threw up a fractured verdict with BJP emerging as the single largest party in the state assembly polls, winning 104 seats. The Congress and the JD(S) won 78 and 37 seats respectively and announced a post-poll alliance as they staked claim to form the government.

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On Friday, the Supreme Court had ordered a floor test in the Karnataka Assembly at 4 PM today by truncating the 15-day window given by Governor Vajubhai Vala to BJP Chief Minister Yeddyurappa to prove his majority.