BANGALORE: As the assembly election in Karnataka is drawing closer, the jibes are getting sharper. National head of the Congress party, Rahul Gandhi, took a dig at the Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the second leg of his campaign in the northern parts of poll bound state, asking why the ‘chowkidar’ was silent on the recent PNB fraud.
(Modi had described himself as the ‘chowkidar’ or watchman of the country.)
Modi has often taken swipes at the Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah of Congress, alleging corruption and calling his regime ‘10% commission sarkar’. During his party rallies in Vijapura and Bagalkote districts in north Karnataka, Rahul Gnadhi said,”On one side there is his party’s (former) chief minister (B S Yeddyurappa) who had gone to jail and on the other side are the other four former ministers of the BJP government who had gone to jail; sitting in between them, Modi speaks about corruption.”
Also questioning the sudden surge in BJP national president Amit Shah’s son Jay Shah’s company, Mr. Gandhi said, ‘Shah’s son converts Rs 50,000 to Rs 80 crore in three months and the chowkidar of the country doesn’t get it enquired and doesn’t even utter a word.’ This is Rahul Gandhi’s second visit to Karnataka, and he has taken potshots at the PM during every rally and every speech, and has criticized every move of Modi, right from demonetization to GST, and hurling allegations about scams and frauds galore. The BJP has retaliated by asking him to debate about issues related to Karnataka and answer the people about Karnataka CM’s misrule in the state. BJP General Secretary P. Muralidhar Rao said, ‘Elections are held in Karnataka for Karnataka. What is the performance of state government is the question.’
Rahul Gandhi also accused the PM of letting the youth down as he failed to fulfill his promise of providing them 2 crore jobs every year, and that all his schemes like Make in India, Stand-up India etc had fallen flat despite all the hype. In order to touch the local nerve, he also invoked 12th century social reformer Basaveshwara from the state, saying ‘Karnataka taught the world about democracy 900 years ago. When BJP people talk about changing the Constitution, when they try to invade democracy, they have to remember that they are working against Basavanna, his teachings and principles.’
Mr. Gandhi has approved of a State Election Committee for the state, which will have 43 members headed by G Parameshwara, chief of the state unit of Congress party. CM Siddarmaiah and senior Congress leaders like KC Venugopal, Mallikarjun Kharge, D K Shivakuamr, Margaret Alva, Dinesh Gundurao, Veerappa Moily, B K Hariprasad and Oscar Fernnades are all part of the team.
The BJP is trying every move to wrest power from Congress in Karnataka, and their Chief Ministerial candidate is B S Yedyurappa, a seasoned politician and former CM of Karnataka. Though the last BJP regime in the state can at best be described as forgettable, the party leaders are confident that Modi magic will change the party’s fortune this time around.
Image Credits: The Financial Express