Karnataka controversy: Congress accuses Modi of ‘influencing’ Karnataka voters via Nepal, government clarifies

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Published: May 12, 2018 5:52:24 PM

Earlier today, during his visit to Kathmandu in Nepal, Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the iconic Muktinath temple. The temple is regarded as sacred for both Hindus and Buddhists. However, Congress party launched a scathing attack against the prime minister.

Congress alleged Modi purposefully aligned his visit to the temple with the election day in Karnataka to woo the voters. Congress alleged Modi purposefully aligned his visit to the temple with the election day in Karnataka to woo the voters.

Earlier today, during his visit to Kathmandu in Nepal, Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the iconic Muktinath temple. The temple is regarded as sacred for both Hindus and Buddhists. However, Congress party launched a scathing attack against the prime minister. The party alleged Modi purposefully aligned his visit to the temple with the election day in Karnataka to woo the voters.

In Karnataka, polling for the 222 out of 224 seats started today. Senior Congress leader Ashok Gehlot alleged Modi had timed his visit to Nepal on the Karnataka poll date. He further alleged that the PM was “giving a message to Hindus” in the poll-bound southern state. He alleged the prime minister violated the model code of conduct as his visit to the temple in Nepal were being aired on the day of the election in Karnataka.

The Congress leader said, “This is not a good tradition in a democracy. In Gujarat also, he held a road show after voting. Today, he has adopted a new path.” He added, “When Karnataka is polling today, he has gone to Nepal and is worshipping in temples there, as he could not do so in the southern state due to elections.”

However, the government in its defence said Modi’s visit to Nepal was decided soon after K P Sharma Oli’s election as prime minister of the Himalayan country.

While responding to a question during a press meet, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said PM Modi had telephoned Prime Minister KP Oli when he was sworn in on February 15. He said the prime minister called to congratulate him and the visits were discussed then.

“When Prime Minister Modi had telephoned Prime Minister Oli upon his election as the prime minister of Nepal, they had discussed the visit then. Prime Minister Oli had then expressed his desire for an early visit by Prime Minister Modi,” said the Foreign Secretary.

“They had discussed the visits, and the Prime Minister (Modi) had said you (Oli) come first. “So that’s how the sequence has been, first Prime Minister Oli visited India and now Prime Minister (Modi) is in Nepal,” he added.

Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale also urged people to focus on the content of the meeting and not the dates of it. During his visit, the prime minister met Nepal’s former prime ministers Prachanda and Sher Bahadur Deuba. Other than the iconic Muktinath temple, PM Modi also visited the famed 20th century Janaki temple and Pashupatinath temple.

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