Chamarajanagar/Udupi (Karnataka): Launching his election campaign in Karnataka, Prime Minister Narendra Modi accused the Congress of being obsessed with “politics of dynasty” and dared party chief Rahul Gandhi to speak for 15 minutes on the achievements of the Siddaramaiah government without a piece of paper.
Addrrssing election meetings, he also charged the Congress with blocking development and blamed it for political violence that led to the death of several RSS and BJP cadres in the state.
Referring to Gandhi’s challenge to face him in Parliament, Modi sought to turn the tables by asking him to speak for 15 minutes on the achievements of the government in Karnataka without reading from a piece of paper.
The Prime Minister’s attack came in the wake of Rahul Gandhi’s challenge last week that if he was allowed to speak for 15 minutes in Parliament, Modi would not be able to withstand it.
Modi took a dig at Rahul Gandhi saying: “He is correct. There is no way ordinary people like me, who do not even dress well, can sit with such high and mighty people like the Congress President.”
But immediately he changed gear and launched a blistering attack on Rahul Gandhi.
“The Congress President is a ‘naamdaar’. So how does he know about the efforts of ‘kaamdaars’. We are kaamdaars (known by our work). What is our level that we can sit with people like the Congress President who look down upon us,” he asked.
Challenging Rahul Gandhi to speak for 15 minutes on the achievements of the Siddaramaiah government “without reading from any piece of paper”, he said: “You can speak in Hindi, English or your mother’s mother tongue (Italian).”
He also challenged Rahul Gandhi to take Visveswaraya’s name five times in the 15-minute speech. “That is enough. The people of Karnataka will measure the strength of your words.”
Modi also lamented that all development in Karnataka has been blocked by the ruling Congress due to its obsession with family politics.
“Where there is Congress, all roads that lead to development are blocked. There is only family politics, corruption and lack of harmony,” Modi said.
Modi also attacked the Congress for indulging in “family politics” by allowing a party’s leaders kith and kin to contest in the Assembly elections and hit out at Siddaramaiah.
“For the Chief Minister (Siddaramaiah) the rule is ‘2+1’. He will contest from two seats and has given his old seat (Varuna in Mysuru) to his son (Yathindra) and for the other ministers (in the state cabinet) the rule seems to be ‘1+1’, allowing their relatives to fight polls.
“For the Congress, it has always been about family politics. But for us (BJP), it is about people’s politics. People of the state will decide which kind of politics they will choose (in the upcoming election),” Modi said.
Law and order in Karnataka has collapsed under Congress rule, Modi said.
“When the Lokayukta in the state is not safe, how can one expect the common people to be safe under the Congress government?”
Karnataka’s anti-graft ombudsman Justice P. Vishwanatha Shetty was stabbed at his office by a man in the state capital on March 7.
The Prime Minister also attacked former Congress President Sonia Gandhi and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh over their promises of providing electricity to every village by 2009.
“Perhaps due to over excitement, the newly elected Congress President forgets decency. He did not even bother to congratulate the hardworking ‘mazdoors’ due to whom India’s villages are getting electricity.”
Modi said that in 2005 Manmohan Singh had said he will provide electricity to every village by 2009.
“Manmohan Singh said we will electrify villages by 2009. Sonia Gandhi went a step ahead and said we will provide electricity to every house by 2009. But what happened? In any case, we saw how the Congress treated Manmohan Singh. They tore off ordinances and disrespected him.”
He said the Congress had nothing but contempt for the poor and labourers.
Modi said the government was now going to provide electricity to every household in India and asked those who ruled India for a majority of the years since 1947. “Why did they not think about the 18,000 villages lacking access to electricity.”
In Udupi, Modi held the Congress government in Karnataka responsible for “political violence that led to the death of several BJP cadres” in the state.
“It is extremely shameful that the Congress government allowed violence in the state and several BJP workers were murdered. The Congress must provide an answer to the rising crime,” Modi told a BJP rally at M.G.M. College Grounds in this coastal district city.
“While the BJP is talking about the ‘ease of doing business’ in our country, the Congress believes in ‘ease of doing murder’. This is the kind of culture they have developed.”
Accusing the Siddaramaiah government of allowing the “sand mafia” to operate in the state, Modi appealed to the people to vote for change and development.
“Those who loot cannot remain in power and must be ousted,” Modi said.