Assembly elections: PM Narendra Modi launches all-out attack on Rahul Gandhi and Congress; Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah hits back

Voting in Karnataka will take place on May 12, 2018, and counting of votes will be done on May 15.

Assembly elections: PM Narendra Modi launches all-out attack on Rahul Gandhi and Congress; Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah hits back
Pic courtesy: PTI

Santemaranahalli/Udupi/Belagavi: The campaign trail in Karnataka heated up on Tuesday with Prime Minister Narendra Modi launching the second leg of his campaign blitz in the state. He resumed his campaign in Karnataka after a long break - the last rally he addressed was in February 2018. PM Modi is slated to address 15 rallies in the state.

Addressing three election rallies on Tuesday, he accused the Congress of being obsessed with "politics of dynasty" and dared party chief Rahul Gandhi to speak for 15 minutes on the achievements of the Siddaramaiah government without a piece of paper. The Prime Minister's attack came in the wake of Rahul's challenge that if he was allowed to speak for 15 minutes in Parliament, PM Modi would not be able to withstand it. "You can speak in Hindi, English or your mother's mother tongue (Italian)," he told the Congress president.

Karnataka CM hit back at PM Modi over for his '2+1 formula' jibe at him and challenged him to take part in an open debate on the issues of crime and the law and order situation in Karnataka compared to the BJP-ruled states.

PM Modi takes on Rahul Gandhi, slams Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah:

Referring to Rahul's challenge to face him in Parliament, PM Modi in Santemaranahalli took a dig at the Congress president saying, "He is correct. There is no way ordinary people like me, who do not even dress well, can sit with such high and mighty people like the Congress president. The Congress president is a naamdaar. So how does he know about the efforts of kaamdaars. We are kaamdaars (known for our work). What is our level that we can sit with people like the Congress president who look down upon us."

PM Modi further assailed the Congress government in Karnataka for initiating the culture of "ease of doing murder". He also accused the successive Congress governments at the Centre of allowing a handful of people to 'loot' banks while denying loans to poor.

PM Modi claimed that over two dozen BJP workers were killed under the Congress government in Karnataka in political violence. "What was their crime? It was that they were opposed to your views, they raised their voice for the people of Karnataka. We want to encourage the ease of doing business, they (the Congress) have initiated the culture of ease of doing murder," he said at another election rally in Udupi.

He referred to Mahatma Gandhi's insistence on disbanding the Congress after Independence and said with the party facing defeat after defeat in the last four years, the Father of the Nation's 'last dream' was about to materialise with its decimation in the Karnataka polls.

Attacking dynastic politics in the Congress, PM Modi took a dig at CM Siddaramaiah for contesting from two seats and fielding his son in another. Addressing the Santhemarahalli rally, he termed it as the Kannada version of Congress' family politics. "I was reading a newspaper a couple of days ago and I found that in Karnataka 2+1 formula is going on. This is nothing but the Kannada version of Congress' family politics," he said.

Siddaramaiah hits back at PM Modi, dares him for debate:

Responding to PM Modi's attack on him for contesting from two constituencies "with fear of losing" and also over fielding his son for the May 12 polls, Siddaramaiah pointed out that the Prime Minister had himself contested from two seats during 2014 Lok Sabha elections. Siddaramaiah, who was earlier fielded from Chamundeshwari in Mysuru, later filed papers from Badami in Bagalkot district also. His candidature from Badami came amidst reports that battle at Chamundeshwari was not easy for him. Varuna in Mysuru, from where Siddaramaiah has been contesting since 2008, has been allotted to his son Yatinda this time.

Attacking the PM over BJP fielding brothers of 'tainted' mining baron G Janardhan Reddy in the Assembly elections, the Karnataka CM said, "Today the Prime Minister 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 of his formula to win the election. 2 Reddys + 1 Yeddy." 'Yeddy' is a reference to BJP's chief ministerial candidate BS Yeddyurappa.

Accusing PM Modi of repeating lies for political purposes, Siddaramaiah challenged him to take part in an open debate with him on the issues of crime and the law and order situation in Karnataka compared to the BJP-ruled states.

"Crime is not increasing in Karnataka abnormally. PM repeats the lie of increasing crime rate for political purposes," he said.

Janardhana Reddy, who was the state Tourism and Infrastructure Minister between 2008-11 when Yeddyurappa was the CM, was arrested and jailed for about two years after the state's anti-graft watchdog (Lokayukta) named him in the multi-crore iron ore mining scam. Yeddyurappa, too, was forced to step down from the CM's post over his alleged involvement in a land scam.

Janardhana's brother G Karunakara Reddy is contesting from Harpanahallli on a BJP ticket.

Voting in the southern state will take place on May 12, 2018, and counting of votes will be done on May 15.

(With PTI and IANS inputs)

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