Prime Minister Narendra Modi has once again lashed out at the Congress party and has said the party is already trying to find excuses like faulty EVMs for the “impending” defeat in the Assembly polls. Taking on the Siddaramaiah government over alleged corruption, Modi said there is not even a single minister who is not facing accusations of financial irregularities.
Campaigning in this Lingayat stronghold, he alleged the state’s ruling Congress is trying to divide the society and spread the “poison of casteism”.
Addressing an election rally at Sarawad near here in north Karnataka, Modi dismissed projections and surveys by “those sitting in air conditioned rooms” that the elections would throw up a hung Assembly.
I assure the people of Bengaluru that we will focus on multiple aspects needing attention vis-à-vis the city’s development and create next-generation infrastructure to cater to the city’s aspirations. pic.twitter.com/AetvZBE9fx
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) May 8, 2018
Modi made repeated references to the 12th century saint, philosopher and social reformer Basaveshwara to reach out to the Lingayats, the traditional bedrock of the BJP’s support base. Lingayats worship Basaveshwara.
“Congress believes in the policy of divide and rule… divide on the basis of caste and religion….make brother fight brother. But people of this land of Basaveshwara will not allow it to happen,” he said.
The state’s ruling Congress has recommended religious minority status for the Lingayats, a traditional vote base of the BJP, a move many feel was aimed at splitting their votes.
BJP’s chief ministerial candidate Yeddyurappa belongs to the the Lingayat community.
Modi said with defeat staring the Congress in the face, it is already busy trying to find excuses.
“Congress party has stopped thinking about what to tell people, what should be done till election. They are sitting at home and offices trying to find excuses for the impending defeat… They are planning excuses including blaming EVMs,” he said.
Modi said during his election campaign over the last 7-8 days he visited different parts of Karnataka and gathered the impression that “people of Karnataka have not only decided to remove the Congress party from power, but they have also decided to punish them for five years.”
“Can you tell me the name of a single minister who is not facing allegations of corruption,” he said, a day after Siddaramaiah sent legal notices to Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah, threatening to file civil and criminal defamation suit against them for making unsubstantiated allegations against him.
Without naming him, Modi referred to Water Resources Minister M B Patil, who hails from Vijayapura district, and said, “Here everyone knows about his deeds, how contracts are awarded, what is his relationship with contractors and how bundles of notes were found from the almirahs of contractors.”
With UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi set to address an election rally in Vijayapura later in the day, her first in two years, Modi took a dig at Congress president Rahul Gandhi, saying even leaders in his party have begun to doubt 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.
“ne thing is clear. The Congress that destroyed the country for dynastic rule (vanshavad) is destroying itself while trying to save the dynasty,” he said.
Accusing the Congress of “spreading lies”, Modi said its government was never serious about protecting women.
“Congress is immersed in vote bank politics and is giving speeches on women safety. But on triple talaq…we brought a bill to protect Muslim women but they opposed the legislation and did not allow it to be passed (in Rajya Sabha),” he said.
Basaveshwara, he said, spoke about taking everyone along, but the Congress government is trying to “divide castes….destroy everything…divide and rule, create rift between between one another. This is their game.”
Maintaining that the Congress only wants to cling to power, Modi said, “Congress leaders don’t know this is the land ofBasaveshwara that will never get divided onthe basis of caste….here one cannot create rift between brothers.”
“They will remove Congress and not allow the poison of casteism to spread on this land,” he said, in a veiled reference to the contentious issue of religious minority tag for Lingayats. The BJP maintains the move is aimed at dividing Hindus.