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Karnataka polls: Modi chides Cong; Siddaramaiah reminds him of 'Reddy gang'

There is a fierce competition between the BJP and Congress for Karnataka Assembly election 2018. PM Modi and Yogi Adityanath will address rallies in Karnataka today. Catch Karnataka polls 2018 updates

BS Web Team  |  New Delhi 

Narendra Modi in Karnataka
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses a public rally for the Karnataka assembly elections, in Bengaluru on Thursday

Prime Minister Narendra and Congress president were in battleground Karnataka on Thursday, crossing swords over a plethora of issues including corruption, ahead of the May 12 voting to elect a new government in the state. While played a nationalism card and accused the Congress of promoting only one family, took a swipe at him for his "personal attacks" that "doesn't behove" of a person holding a high office. alleged that the Congress had insulted the Indian Army by questioning the truth behind 2016 surgical strikes against terrorists in Pakistan. He said the Congress was spreading "lies" by accusing the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of being anti-Dalit, anti-Muslim and anti-women. Seeking to give an adrenaline boost to to wrest the state from the Congress and form its government for a second time, Modi addressed three election meetings and four during their whirlwind trip. The Karnataka government is a "gold medalist" in corruption and Congress leaders are "drunk on power", Modi told a public meeting in state capital Bengaluru. Dubbing the government as "seedha rupaiah government" (corrupt), a punning allusion to the chief minister's name, Modi said an ordinary man cannot get done any work without bribing officials. "Because of this seedha rupaiah government Karnataka is immersed in debt," he told an election rally in Ballari. In the line of Congress fire over the BJP granting party tickets to Reddy brothers, accused of involvement in a humongous illegal iron ore mining scam, the prime minister hit back. "This Karnataka government frustrated all attempts by the Centre to stop illegal mining in allow the auction of mining blocks. But the government failed to formulate a mining policy in five years," he told an election rally in Ballari. Rahul Gandhi, who addressed election rallies in Aurad, Bhaki, Humnabad and Bidar, slammed Modi for personal attacks against him. Gandhi, however, said whether the attacks on him were right or wrong, he would not make any personal attack on Modi because he was the prime minister. He questioned his silence over the controversial Rafale fighter jet deal and fugitive diamond merchant Nirav Modi who defrauded the Punjab National Bank of thousands of crores of rupees. Rahul Gandhi said Modi had promised to deposit Rs 1.5 million (Rs 15 lakh) each in poor citizens' bank accounts but didn't do it. Gandhi said Modi also promised 20 million (two crore) jobs to the youth every year and higher minimum support price to farmers but he did none of this. Here are the top 10 developments in the BJP and Congress' ongoing campaign: 1) Siddaramaiah takes to Twitter to attack Modi, Adityanath: Stung by the attack launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister against him, Karnataka Chief Minister on Thursday took to micro-blogging site Twitter to hit out at them.

With hashtag #ModiHitWicket, Siddaramaiah posed questions to Modi as he arrived for extensive canvassing in Kalaburagi, Ballari and Bengaluru.

Siddaramaiah reminded Modi to mention about the "loot of Rs 35,000 crore (Rs 350 billion) worth iron ore" allegedly by BJP's Janardhana Reddy.

Congress has alleged that eight of "Reddy Gang" members have been given ticket for the assembly election.

With star players like "Yeddy-Reddy, your score in Karnataka will be well short of 60," added Siddaramaiah. He also asked Modi how he was asking for vote for a candidate who is the brother of the mining mafia kingpin G Janardhana Reddy who brought shame to Ballari and the state. 2) Karnataka govt 'gold medalist' in graft, Congress leaders 'drunk on power': The Karnataka government is a "gold medalist" in corruption and Congress leaders are "drunk on power", Prime Minister Narendra Modi said today, as he gave an adrenaline boost to the BJP's election campaign in the state days before it goes to poll.

Under attack over the BJP giving tickets to the controversial Reddy brothers, allegedly involved in a mammoth mining scam, Modi launched a counteroffensive against the Karnataka government, accusing it of thwarting the Centre's attempts to check illegal mining by not formulating a mining policy.

Dubbing the Siddaramaiah government as "seedha rupaiah government" (corrupt), a punning allusion to the chief minister's name, Modi said an ordinary man cannot get done any work without bribing officials.

Addressing a rally in Bengaluru, he called the Siddaramaiah government a "gold medalist in corruption where there is competition between departments and ministers over who is more corrupt."

Rahul Gandhi in Karnataka Congress President Rahul Gandhi waves during a public meeting ahead of at Bheemanna Khandre Institute of Technology Ground in Aurad

3) Congress moves EC against BJP's 'misleading advertisements': The Congress on Thursday complained to the against the BJP's Karnataka unit for "getting published false and misleading advertisements" in newspapers to malign the public image of Congress President Rahul Gandhi and Chief Minister Siddaramaiah.

The Congress said it was a violation of the Model Code of Conduct as the print advertisements were published with an intent to malign their leaders' images by "levelling false and unverified allegations and distortions against them".

The party urged the EC to enquire into and take strict and prompt action against the state BJP leadership. It also said this is "clearly a sign of BJP's frustration".

Congress leaders, including Abhishek Manu Singhvi, Rajeev Shukla and Pramod Tiwari, submitted a memorandum to Chief Election Commissioner Om Prakash Rawat. 4) Modi flays JDS for aligning with forces of communalism: Two days after lavishing praise on H D Deve Gowda, Narendra Modi on Thursday hit out at the Janata Dal (Secular) headed by him, accusing it of doing a "disservice" by forming an alliance with forces of extremism and communalism.

Modi said would not win the assembly polls in the state under any circumstances and quoted political pundits, saying they had predicted that Gowda's party would be a "distant third", that too after "limping."

In remarks that caused ripples in state political circles, Modi had on Tuesday lashed out at Congress president Rahul Gandhi for "insulting" Gowda, saying it showed his "arrogance." Showering praise on the former prime minister at an election rally in Bantwal, Modi had also said Gowda was one of the most respected and tallest leaders for whom he had great respect.

Gowda had however downplayed Modi's remarks, saying it did not mean that the two parties were cosying up to each other.

5) Congress created debt-ridden Karnataka, says Modi: Accusing the Congress-led government in Karnataka of functioning only on "commissions and bribes", Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday held it responsible for creating a "debt-ridden" state.

"The Karnataka government is a 'seedha rupaiah sarkar' (straight money government). Every single job in the state gets done only with money, commissions and bribes. Congress has created a debt-ridden Karnataka," he alleged at a rally in Ballari city in the rich mining district of Ballari.

In his 40-minute speech in Hindi, which was simultaneously translated into Kannada, to hundreds of people, Modi pointed to the "rising" illegal mining in the state.

"The illegal mining in the state is rising and on the other hand, Congress government in Karnataka could not even frame a strong mining policy," he claimed.

The Siddaramaiah-led government could not even ensure proper water supply in the state, for drinking and cultivation, the Prime Minister alleged, while accusing the Congress of speaking of Dalits and other backward classes only for the sake of votes.

6) BJP plans to fill Karnataka assembly with 'jailbirds', says Rahul Gandhi: Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Thursday said BJP has planned to fill the Karnataka Assembly with 'jailbirds'.

Addressing a rally in Karnataka's Bhalki, the Congress President said, "The BJP has plans to fill Karnataka Assembly with jailbirds. Prime Minister Narendra Modi must explain to the people of Karnataka as to why has he chosen a corruption-tainted man as BJP's CM candidate," according to ANI.

The Congress President also said that the is not about Rahul Gandhi or Narendra Modi rather it is about providing jobs, development, and security of women in the poll-bound state.

"Modi ji should explain how the youth will get jobs. This election is about jobs, development, and security of women, not about Rahul Gandhi or Narendra Modi. He should accept that he lied about crediting Rs 15 lakhs into people's account and bringing back black money. That's the way to seek votes, not by telling lies," Rahul added, reported ANI.

Rahul alleged that Prime Minister Modi is trying to fetch gains from the work done by the Congress party. "This election is between two ideologies -- Congress with its ideology of unity, compassion and inclusive Karnataka, and BJP-RSS with its ideology of hatred and division," said Gandhi

7) Cash circulation at pre-note ban level due to Karnataka polls: The and a rise in growth have led to the resurgence of cash getting back into the economy to the pre-note-ban levels, says a report.

"Increased demand for cash is likely due to factors such as a faster pick up in nominal activity and the upcoming election in Karnataka," Japanese brokerage Nomura said in a report on Thursday.

It said cash is becoming "king again", and the currency in circulation has risen fast to 11.3 per cent as of April, which is close to the pre-demonetisation steady state of 11.5-12 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP). 8) Congress govt on 'sleep mode' in Karnataka, says PM Modi: Continuing his tirade against the Congress party, the Prime Minister said the ruling party did not spend the funds, the Centre had allocated for development of Karnataka.

Addressing a public gathering at Karnataka's Ballari, the Prime Minister said, "Congress government in Karnataka is in 'sleep mode.' They didn't spend funds Centre allocated for development of the state. We wanted OBC Commission to get Constitutional status but they didn't let it happen.

They do vote-bank politics. They divide people on basis of caste."

Attacking the Congress over illegal mining in Karnataka, Prime Minister Modi said that the grand old party here couldn't even frame a strong mining policy. Hitting out at former Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Prime Minister Modi said that she had promised Rs 30 billion (Rs 3,000 crore) package for Ballari but forgot about it later. 9) Modi calls on Karnataka voters to vote for change: At a rally at the Navodaya Vidyalaya Grounds in Kalaburagi, Modi on Thursday urged the people of Karnataka to vote for a change in the upcoming Assembly election, saying their mandate would decide the future of farmers and youths. "This election is going to decide the future of Karnataka, its farmers and youth. It is about the safety of women. Do not assume that it is only about electing an MLA, it is much beyond that," Modi said.

Modi, who is campaigning for the BJP for the second day, addressed the rally for some 30 minutes in Hindi. Accusing the state's Congress government of being indifferent to farmers, Modi said the state failed to ensure that the benefits of the central government's schemes reached the farmers. "Kalaburagi is known for dal (pulses) cultivation. Our farmers are working hard here, but the Karnataka government is insensitive towards their condition," Modi said. He said the BJP's chief ministerial face, Yeddyurappa, was a farmer's son who understood the concerns of farmers. "In Yeddyurappa, we have a leader who is devoted to the welfare of farmers. For him, their (farmers') welfare is top priority." Further, attacking the Siddaramaiah government, Modi said: "We have seen the state being ruined for five years and we will no longer allow the state to be ruined further. People are seeing that in all corners of India, the Congress is being rejected." Modi, who was speaking shortly after Rahul Gandhi issued a report card failing his government over its performance in the agriculture sector, also said that the Congress sat over the Swaminathan Commission recommendation to increase MSP for farmers. "It's not expected of them to accept this sin but they can at least keep quiet, when our government has approved its implementation," added the Prime Minister. ALSO READ: BJP's last-mile push to maximise returns from central Karnataka 10) Gowda says JD(S) will form a government in Karnataka on its own: Discounting the possibility of a hung Assembly, supremo H D Deve Gowda has asserted that his party will come back to power in the May 12 Karnataka polls. Gowda also denied that BJP and were cosying up to each other. "Maybe, by praising me, he (the prime minister) wants to gain sympathy. That is all. That does not mean there is an understanding (between BJP and JDS)," Gowda said. "In fact, the JDS is confident of forming the government on its own with the cooperation of (Telugu Desam Party) leader Chandrababu Naidu, Chandrasekhar Rao (of the Telangana Rashtra Samithi) and other friends in political arena... I do not expect a hung Assembly," he said. "I have been saying this and I will say this again -- we are confident of forming government on our own," the JDS chief added. ALSO READ: Karnataka polls: Farm distress key issue in Yeddyurappa's seat, Shikaripura Chandrababu Naidu calls on Telugu people in Karnataka to defeat BJP: During a committee meeting held with party leaders in Amaravati, National President and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister said, "is a case study for Bharatiya Janata Party's collusion politics." "In Andhra Pradesh, Y S Jaganmohan Reddy is getting relief from the Enforcement Directorate attachments. In Karnataka, Gali Janardhan Reddy is getting relief in mining cases. It is hilarious that CBI is writing letters saying we don't have details on from where and how much iron ore was illegally exported. Is this BJP's fight against corruption?" asked Naidu. Naidu also urged his supporters to shun the BJP in Karnataka by not voting for them in the upcoming election. "I am appealing to all Telugu people in Karnataka to defeat BJP that indulges in collusion politics and conspiracies in Karnataka. YSR Congress, instead of demanding Special Category Status (SCS) from BJP, is attacking the TDP, which is fighting for the same cause on behalf of five crore people of the state that shows their secret agenda," said Naidu.
With agency inputs

First Published: Fri, May 04 2018. 00:02 IST