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Facing strains in coalition, Rahul appeals to his party and


Press Trust of India Bengaluru
With open fissures in the ruling alliance in Karnataka, Congress president Rahul Gandhi Sunday asked leaders and workers of his party and JDS to strive unitedly for the coalition victory in Lok Sabha polls, as defeating Prime Minister Narendra Modi was its target.
Gandhi's unity appeal comes amid worries in the Congress-JDS alliance that dissidence within might hamper the electoral prospects despite the arrangement between them to face the electorate together in 28 Lok Sabha constituencies.
"The Congress and JDS are fighting the election together inKarnataka.
At the beginning itself I want to say that all workers and leaders of Congress should help JD(S) candidates completely and JDS workers and leaders will have to support Congress candidates," Gandhi said.
"Both parties' aim is to defeat Narendra Modi and BJP," the Congress president said at a rally on the outskirts of Bengaluru, where he launched the Congress-JDS campaign, with JDS patriarch H D Deve Gowda, Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy and state senior Congress leaders, including deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara and Siddaramaiah in attendance.
Gandhi thanked Congress and JDS workers for having come together to defeat Narendra Modi and the BJP.
"In Karnataka we have formed the coalition government and in Delhi also we will defeat Narendra Modi," he said.
Congress and JDS had bitterly fought the May assembly polls last year, but had cobbled up an alliance post-elections to form the coalition government following a hung verdict with BJP emerging as the single largest party, but falling short of numbers to rule the state.
"I once again urge that Congress leaders and workers will help JDS and JDS people will make Congress candidates win," Gandhi stressed, seeking to send a message of unity.
The alliance is facing trouble in several constituencies, including key ones such as Tumkur, Mandya and Hassan, with party workers unhappy over the seat sharing arrangements.
Deve Gowda is contesting from Tumkur and his grandsons Nikhil Kumaraswamy and Prajwal Revanna from Mandya and Hassan, respectively.
Nikhil is the son of Chief Minister Kumaraswamy.
For the coalition to emerge as a formidable opposition to BJP, mutual transfer of votes is crucial, but it is posing a serious challenge with the electoral understanding yet to sink in at the grassroot level where the two parties have been arch rivals for decades, seeking share in the same electoral space.
According to the seat sharing arrangement, Congress and JD(S) are contesting in 21 and 7 Lok Sabha seats respectively.
In the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, BJP had won 17 seats, while Congress and JD(S) had won nine and two seats respectively.
Gandhi also raked up the issue of the "Yeddyurappa diary" over alleged payment of Rs 1,800 crore as bribe to the BJP top brass by the former chief minister.
"Rs 1800 crore...Yeddyurappa has distributed in his diary, where did it come from? Whose money is it?..... From where did it come? It came from the pockets of the Karnataka people," Gandhi said.
Yeddyurappa has rubbished the allegations as "atrocious and malicious", while the Income Tax department has dismissed it as a "forgery document" and a "set of loose papers".
Gandhi alleged that in the last five years, Modi had done nothing for the farmers, labourers, small traders and youth.
"He did everything for his 15 big industrialist friends."

"Chowkidar gives world's biggest defence contract to Anil Ambani. Rs 30,000 crore he put into his pocket," he said referring to the Rafale fighter jet deal.
"Broke all laws, openly indulged in corruption and removed the CBI Director at 1.30 in the night," he alleged.
He also claimed that in the last five years, the Modi government had waived Rs 3.5 lakh crore loan of 15-20 people.
"But when farmers ask for loan waiver, Arun Jaitley and Narendra Modi say it's not their policy.
"There is no shortage of money, but money cannot be given to the poor, it cannot be given to farmers, to labourers, to young entrepreneurs.
To Anil Ambani, Mehul Choksi, Nirav Modi, Vijay Mallya, Lalit Modi it can be given," he said.
In his speech, Gowda described the Modi government as the 'most communal' and said it was promoting the RSS agenda of 'Hindu Rashtra.'

Kumaraswamy said the coalition is sending a message to the entire country from the soil of Karnataka ahead of the general elections and a situation was emerging where Congress would take the country forward with the help of regional parties.

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First Published: Mar 31 2019 | 8:45 PM IST

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