In the final lap of his campaign blitz in Karnataka, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday launched a sharp attack against Congress President Rahul Gandhi, saying a "dynast" aspiring to be the Prime Minister was sheer "arrogance". Addressing back-to-back rallies at different places in the southern state, which votes on Saturday to elect a new government, Modi said Congress leaders were arranging big meetings and conspiring to remove him. Taking a swipe at Gandhi, Modi said he was day-dreaming of becoming the Prime Minister in 2019.
"There is a leader of Congress who thinks only about one thing throughout the day - how to be the Prime Minister. Such is the arrogance of the 'naamdhaar'. This naamdhaar (dynast) doesn't care about others who are standing in the queue. "He came like a bully, marched his way ahead when there were others waiting with so many years of experience. How can someone just declare himself the Prime Minister? This is simply nothing but sheer arrogance."
He said Gandhi with an "inflated ego despite losing 25-30 elections in the last four years" didn't even bother about the leaders who have been waiting for 40 years and about other allies in the UPA.
"The Congress has lost in almost all the states in the last four years. But the ego of the 'naamdhaar' is still bloated. He says he will become the Prime Minister in 2019. Isn't this his ego?"
During an interaction with prominent citizens in Bengaluru on Tuesday, the Congress President had replied in the affirmative when he was asked if he was ready to be India's Prime Minister if the Congress emerges as the largest party in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The Congress hit back at Modi asking him if he thought he was the only one who had the right to be Prime Minister. "Is Narendra Modi the only one with the right to be the Prime Minister?" Congress spokesman Anand Sharma asked.
Here are the top 10 developments in the Karnataka Election 2018 campaign by BJP and Congress:
1. Rahul claims 90 % of money in banks going to 15 rich industrialists: Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday alleged that 90 per cent of the money deposited in banks was going into the hands of a few 15 rich industrialists.
"...they get all money. The small and middle-sized factories do not get money," Gandhi said in an interaction with women employees of garment industry here.
"Nirav Modi (diamantaire) has not given jobs to anybody. He pocketed Rs 35,000 crore and ran away from the country. This money would have been given to small and middle-sized factories like yours. Your factory could have then given jobs to a thousand people," Gandhi said.
He said mining baron Reddy brothers also stole Rs 35,000 crore which could have created another thousand jobs.
2. Blame game over fake voter IDs: The Congress and BJP have accused each other for the fake voter ID scandal.
CAG wrong, Congress right.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) May 9, 2018
Police wrong, Congress right.
Army wrong, Congress right.
EC and EVM wrong, Congress right.
Judiciary wrong, Congress right.
125 crore Indians wrong, Congress right.
Due to this mindset, Congress tramples over every institution. https://t.co/2MRjLcRGnr pic.twitter.com/MZt1nCrXok
A delegation led by senior Congress leader Anand Sharma met the Election Commission and submitted a memorandum over the issue.
"We submitted a detailed memorandum about malpractices of BJP & how the central govt with the help of central agencies, including IT dept, is trying to subvert free & fair elections in Karnataka," Sharma told ANI on Wednesday.
On the other hand, BJP demanded an immediate countermanding of Raja Rajeshwari election. Addressing a press conference, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar laid down three demands before the EC - countermanding of Rajarajeshwari election, thorough investigation into the matter and arrest of owner of the flat in which fake IDs were found.
BJP President Amit Shah also accused the Congress of trying to win election on the basis of bogus voter IDs.
3. Rahul interacts with women employees of garment industry: Visiting a Garment factory after offering prayers at the Dodda Ganapathi Temple in Chickpet, Rahul Gandhi said demonetisation and GST have destroyed MSMEs, rendering many women employees jobless.
"The UPA Govt offered subsidies to garment factories in order to secure your finances, however, that security has now been withdrawn by the Modi Govt," the Congress President said.
4. Modi flays Rahul for his 'PM remark': Speaking at a rally in Bangarapet, Modi said Rahul's PM remark reflected his arrogance. "Yesterday, someone made an important declaration – he said, 'I am going to be PM!' He came like those bullies who barge their way ahead when there are others who have many more years of experience. How can someone just declare themselves the PM? This is simply nothing but arrogance," Modi said.
In an apparent reference to Opposition leaders, Modi sought the opinion of 'big leaders' on Rahul Gandhi's prime ministerial aspirations.
Further, he said the Congress had brought six evils to the nation – Congress culture, communalism, casteism, crime, corruption and contractor system.
The Prime Minister emphasised that the election would decide the future of Karnataka.
Yesterday someone made an important declaration- he said, "I am going to be PM!" He came like those bullies, barging his way ahead when there are others who have many years of experience. How can someone just declare himself as the PM? This is simply nothing but arrogance : PM— BJP (@BJP4India) 9 May 2018
To remove Modi, there are big meetings being held. How will the big leaders who attend these meetings react to this sudden announcement by one 'Naamdaar' that he is going to be PM : PM @narendramodi #BJP4BetterKarnataka pic.twitter.com/32GGGP9J93— BJP (@BJP4India) 9 May 2018
5. Election preparation starts in Karnataka: The Election Commission has set up a total of 58,000 booths in the state. Of these, 600 will be fully run by women and ten plus booths will be run by the disabled people.
"We will be using 80,000 Voter-Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) along with 80,000 Electronic Voting Machines (EVM). More than Rs.70 cr (700 million) cash and liquor worth Rs 32 cr (320 million) has been seized. We're prepared for elections on May 12," Chief Electoral Officer Sanjiv Kumar told ANI.
6. Smriti Irani decries Congress chief for PM ambitions: In a reaction to Rahul Gandhi's statement, expressing a willingness to become Prime Minster after 2019 general elections, Union Minister Smriti Irani on Tuesday said the Gandhi scion is a self-centred person.
"(Prime Minister Narendra) Modi ji and (BJP chief) Amit Shah are worried about future of people of this country while Rahul Ji thinks about himself. He said if his party comes to power he will be the PM in 2019. A person who does not trust his own leadership and ability, how can he expect people to trust him?," Irani said while speaking at a public rally in Karnataka's Yedrami.
7. Karnataka needs 'sensitive' BJP government, says Modi: Addressing a rally in Bengaluru, the Prime Minister said on Tuesday that Karnataka needs 'sensitive' and 'receptive' BJP unlike Congress which has no vision for the state.
"Congress lacks a forward looking vision for the development of Karnataka, which needs a BJP Government which is sensitive and receptive in nature," Prime Minister Modi said.
He added that there are five peculiar aspects of the Congress- dynasty politics, corruption, rampant lawlessness and criminalization, agrarian distress and ruin, and divide the society.
8. Siddaramaiah's faux pas: Amid a war of words ahead of the Assembly election, Siddaramaiah committed a major gaffe on Tuesday. The Karnataka CM claimed that every vote cast for Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the May 12 Karnataka Assembly polls is like casting it for him.
This happened as Siddaramaiah in a faux pas twice referred to Congress MLA Narendra Swamy as Narendra Modi, while campaigning at Malavalli in Mandya district.
"If road work has happened, concrete roads, drainage, drinking water facilities are there, if houses have been constructed, it is all because of Narendra Modi and our government," Siddaramaiah said.
9. Over 9,000 voter IDs seized from a Bengaluru house: Election Commission of Karnataka on Tuesday recovered 9,746 Electors Photo Identity Card (EPIC) from an apartment in Bengaluru's Jalahalli area of the Raja Rajeshwari Nagar constituency.
BJP demanded cancellation of polling in Raja Rajeshwari Nagar, accusing the Congress of trying to "rig" the polls. Congress hit back, saying that a BJP leader was the owner of the Bengaluru flat from where the 'fake' voter cards had been found.
10. Ready to be PM, says Rahul: Asked if he would be the next Prime Minister, the Congress President answered in affirmative saying he can become prime minister if Congress emerges as the biggest party in next year's general election.
“Well, it depends... it depends on how well the Congress does in the election... I mean, if it emerges as the biggest party, yes,” he said. “It is highly unlikely that BJP will form the next government, and the second part is that it is close to impossible that Modi will be the next prime minister,” Rahul Gandhi said, adding that the Congress would be the lynchpin for opposition unity.
With agency inputs