Bengaluru: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will launch his campaign blitzkrieg on Tuesday in poll-bound Karnataka to add heft to the BJP's efforts to unseat the Congress from power and form its government in the southern state for a second time.
Modi, who last visited Karnataka for campaigning in February, will be addressing rallies at Santhemarahalli in Chamarajanagara district, and Udupi and Chikkodi in Belagavi on Tuesday. Ahead of his Udupi rally, Modi is scheduled to visit Krishna matha and meet the senior seer there.
At least a dozen rallies are expected to follow in the coming days, party sources said.
Polling for the 224-member Assembly will be held on May 12, and results will be declared on the 15th of the month.
On the eve of Modi's visit, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah posed questions to Modi on Twitter while welcoming him to the state.
"Dear @narendramodi, Heard you are visiting Namma Karnataka tomorrow. We welcome you to our state. While you are here, we Kannadigas would like you to address the following" concerns. Please #AnswerMaadiModi," Siddaramaiah tweeted.
In a series of tweets, he questioned the prime minister over BJP giving tickets to "tainted" mining baron G Janardhan Reddy's brothers and associates as also declaring Yeddyurappa its chief ministerial candidate.
"Would G Janardhan Reddy be joining your rallies here?"You have given his family & friends 8 tickets, hoping it will"help BJP in 10-15 seats. And then, you lecture us on corruption. Please end this hypocrisy. Kannadigas aren't wearing Kamala (lotus, the BJP's election symbol) on their ears," Siddaramaiah wrote.
"You first make scam tainted @BSYBJP your party's CM face in Karnataka. Then media reports that you don't want to be seen sharing the stage with him at rallies! Karnataka wants to know if Yeddyurappa is still your CM candidate?" he wrote in another tweet.
Raising issues like tickets being given to "rape" accused and MLAs who watched porn in the Assembly, the chief minister also hit out at Modi over promises that were not kept.
In tweets that followed, Siddaramaiah referred to incidents of rape in Uttar Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir. He alleged Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath "protected" a BJP MLA accused of sexual assault, while party MLAs defended"the rapists of a child in Jammu and Kashmir.
"And then your party makes bombastic Ads to politicise rape in Karnataka?!" Siddaramaiah said.
Siddaramaiah also said the Modi government had failed to create jobs for young people and advised them to sell 'pakodas' instead. He attacked the prime minister over demonetisation, and not waiving farm loans.
During Modi's earlier visit, Siddarmaiah had welcomed him and asked him to address the Mahadayi water sharing dispute with neighboring Goa.
The prime minister had hit back at Siddaramaiah, calling his dispensation 10 per cent government", the one that took 10 per cent commission for development works.