Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday sought to take the fight with the Congress head-on in election-bound Karnataka, accusing the party of "insulting" its President Mallikarjun Khage, who hails from the state, even as he stressed on the BJP's development agenda.
With about two months to go for polls in Karnataka, Modi used the occasion of a public meeting at Belagavi to hit out at the Congress as he targeted "dynastic parties", comments which are also seen to be targeted at former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda's JD(S), besides the Kharge-led party.
Earlier on Monday, Modi inaugurated the Shivamogga airport in another public meeting, where he heaped praise on Karnataka BJP strongman and four-time Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa, who celebrated his 80th birthday today.
"Hawai chappal-wearing (slippers) common citizens should be able to travel in Hawai Jahaj (aircraft). I am seeing it happening," the Prime Minister said as he highlighted that India's aviation market is growing rapidly.
In Shivamogga, the home district of Yediyurappa, the Prime Minister laid the foundation stone and inaugurated multiple development projects worth more than Rs 3,600 crore.
Regarding the aviation sector, Modi took a dig at the Congress, saying before 2014 during the UPA regime, Air India was generally discussed in a negative light and its identity had always been associated with scams where it was deemed a loss-making business model.
Highlighting the Air India of today, the Prime Minister said the recently-privatised airline is recognised as the potential of a new India where it is soaring to the heights of success, he said.
In Belagavi, the Prime Minister released the 13th instalment of funds worth over Rs 16,000 crore under PM-KISAN scheme and laying the foundation stone and dedicating to the nation multiple development projects worth more than Rs 2,700 crore in the state's northern district, which is bordering Maharashtra.
Addressing a large gathering in the city after a massive roadshow, Modi accused the Congress of disrespecting Karnataka and its leaders, while alleging that Kharge was insulted by the party during its plenary session in Chhattisgarh.
He said Kharge was insulted and disrespected by the party, in favour of a "family", apparently referring to the Nehru-Gandhi family, despite the Congress president's seniority and age.
"I want to remind you how Congress hates Karnataka. Insulting Karnataka's leaders is part of Congress' old culture. From whomever Congress' family feels troubled, disrespecting them begins in that party. History stands witness to the insult meted out to the leaders such as S Nijalingappa and Veerendra Patil (former Karnataka CMs), before the family. Everyone in Karnataka knows about it," Modi said.
Now once again, one more leader from Karnataka has been insulted by loyalists of the family, he claimed.
"I have great respect for Mallikarjun Kharge, a son of this land, who has about 50 years of parliamentary or legislature experience. He has tried to do whatever he could in the service of people. But I was sad looking at how Kharge, who is the President of the party and a senior in age, was treated during the Congress' session in Chhattisgarh," Modi said.
"The weather was hot, everyone standing there feeling the heat was natural, but in that heat the good fortune of umbrella's shade was not there for Kharge who is Congress chief and senior in age. The umbrella's shade was for someone standing next to him. This shows Kharge is Congress President just for the sake of it, and looking at the way he is treated, everyone can understand as to whose hands the remote control is in," he alleged.
Noting that several political parties in the country are in the clutches of dynastic politics, Modi said: "We have to free the country from these clutches. People of Karnataka should be cautious about parties like Congress."
He claimed that "Congress people" are so disappointed that they feel that until Modi is alive they cannot do anything.
"So all of them are saying and raising slogans 'Marja Modi, Marja Modi' (Modi die, Modi die), some people are even busy digging 'kabr' (grave). They are saying 'Modi theri kabr khudegi' (Modi your grave will be dug)...but the country is saying 'Modi tera kamal khilega' (Modi your lotus will bloom)."
Speaking about the achievements of "double engine government" (BJP governments at state and Centre), Modi said BJP rule in both Karnataka and the Centre is "guarantee" for fast-paced development.
(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
First Published: Feb 27 2023 | 10:11 PM IST