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Karnataka face-off: PM Modi unleashes blistering attack, Congress counters | India

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TIMESOFINDIA.COM | Updated: May 1, 2018, 09.18 PM IST

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today unleashed an all-out assault on the ruling Congress in Karnataka as campaigning for the May 12 assembly election entered the last leg. The scorching attacks from the BJP’s campaigner-in-chief elicited an equally caustic smackdown from the Congress, with Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah leading the charge. Here’s a round-up of the heated exchange between the two rivals in their battle for the southern state:



15-minute challenge

Prime Minister Narendra Modi challenged Congress president Rahul Gandhi to speak “to speak in any language” for 15 minutes about the achievements of Karnataka’s Siddaramaiah government, without referring to a piece of paper.

The prime minister was responding to Gandhi’s dare to him to allow him to speak for 15 minutes in Parliament on various issues, including corruption.

Mahila Congress chief Sushmita Dev said Modi’s remarks today proved that he had no answers to the issues raised by her party and demanded that he speak with integrity for even 15 seconds without lying or misrepresenting facts.

“Today, it has been proved beyond doubt that the prime minister has no answer on Nirav Modi, or on Jay Shah. He has no answers on Rafale or on Piyush Goyal’s corruption which is there beyond doubt in the public domain,” PTI quoted her as saying.

Kaamdaar vs Naamdaar

PM Modi further charged that Rahul Gandhi’s identity was through the family name while he himself was known for the work he did.

“The Congress President is a ‘naamdaar’ (only name). So how does he know about the efforts of ‘kaamdaars’. We are kaamdaars (known by our work). What is our status that we can sit with people like the Congress President who look down upon us,” he asked.

Responding to the PM’s jibe, Dev said, “The people of the country are not thinking about who is ‘kaamdaar’ or ‘naamdaar’. Today, the only word that exists in the people’s heart is ‘imaandaar’ (honest).”

‘2+1’ formula

The Prime Minister targeted Congress party’s dynasticism and said: “I was reading the papers and saw a 2+1 formula in Karnataka. This is a version of family politics in Karnataka. This is the innovation of the CM of Karnataka. With the fear of defeat he went in search of another seat. And, in his old seat he has sent his son.”

Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah alleged that PM Modi had a ‘2+1’ equation comprising two graft-accused Reddy brothers and chief minister candidate B S Yeddyurappa.

“Today PM avoided talking about his complicity in closing CBI cases against the Reddy brothers. Instead he spoke about some 2+1 formula. Here is the explanation to his formula to win election. 2 Reddys + 1 Yeddy… I don’t know about me but you have a 2+1 formula PM Sir,” Siddaramaiah tweeted.

‘Ease of doing murder’

As opposed to the NDA government’s measures to promote ‘ease of doing business’ in the country, the Congress dispensation in Karnataka was initiating the culture of ‘ease of doing murder’, the PM alleged, refering to reports that the killing of several BJP workers in the state was politically motivated.

Following the murder of a Hindu activist in January, CM Siddaramaiah had said the BJP was making baseless allegations against the Congress. He alleged the young man had not been affiliated with the BJP, but the party was claiming him as its worker and politicising the death because of the upcoming assembly elections.

“BJP leaders have a practice of claiming that all those murdered are their party members,” said Siddaramaiah, adding that he an investigation into the activist’s death was underway and he would ensure that the culprits are punished.

Law and order

PM Modi further alleged that law and order in Karnataka had collapsed under Congress rule. He claimed that the government led by Siddaramaiah had allowed the “sand mafia” to operate in the state.

“Those who loot cannot remain in power and must be ousted,” Modi said, adding that the Congress had promoted intolerance and violence.

“The Congress must provide an answer to the rising crime… When the state’s Lokayukta is not safe, how can the common man be?” he queried.

Siddaramaiah accused the Prime Minister of hawking canards on the law and order situation to make political gains in the upcoming assembly polls.

“Crime is not increasing in Karnataka abnormally. PM repeats the lie of increasing crime rate for political purposes. I challenge him for an open debate on a single platform on crime and law and order situation in Karnataka viz-a-viz BJP-ruled states,” he said in a tweet.


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Updated: May 1, 2018 — 3:36 pm

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