Stepping up his attack on the BJP over the issue of corruption, Rahul Gandhi today said while the Congress's Siddaramaiah government had a scam-free rule, the BJP had broken "world records" in graft in Karnataka.
Stepping up his attack on the BJP over the issue of corruption, Rahul Gandhi today said while the Congress’s Siddaramaiah government had a scam-free rule, the BJP had broken “world records” in graft in Karnataka. The Congress president, continuing with the first leg of his poll campaign in north Karnataka for the second day, said when the BJP was in power in the state, there were “scams one after the other”. “In the last five years there was not even a single scam, and during their (BJP) time there were scams one after the other, from mining to what not, different scams,” he said. At roadside meetings in Koppal district during his ongoing ‘Janashirvad Yatra’ here ahead of Assembly polls in the state, Gandhi said, “Elections are coming, support the Congress party and Siddaramaiah. Once again bring our government here so that we can together work for you.”
The Congress president, who is travelling by a special bus along with other state leaders, received an enthusiastic response from party workers and people who had gathered in large numbers on both sides of the road at different places. Gandhi also alighted from the bus and walked some distance along with Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and KPCC President G Parameshwara at Kushtagi, giving anxious moments to security personnel as the surging crowds tried to get close to him. At the public meetings, Gandhi hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for talking about corruption in Karnataka overlooking his own party’s “track record” while running the government in the state. Pointing out that the previous BJP government had seen three chief ministers, he said four ministers had gone to jail and had to resign. “But still Modiji comes here and speaks about corruption against us,” he said.
The BJP government in the state had seen three chief ministers — B S Yeddyurappa, Sadananda Gowda and Jagadish Shettar — in five years from 2008. “The previous BJP government in Karnataka broke world records in corruption and they come here and talk on corruption pointing at us,” he added. Asking the people to support Congress in the coming elections, Gandhi urged them to thereby contribute towards the progress of Karnataka at a much “faster pace”. Claiming credit for implementing Article 371(J) of the Constitution, giving special status to the Hyderabad-Karnataka region, where he is now on tour, he said during the NDA rule, then Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani had said it (giving special status) could not be done, holding that it would open up a “Pandora’s box” with others making similar demands.
Attacking the central government for not waiving farmers’ loans despite agrarian distress, Gandhi appreciated the Karnataka government’s move writing off loans. “This is the difference between the Congress and BJP,” he said. He targeted Modi on issues of unemployment, demonetisation and the GST, referring to the tax regime as the “Gabbar Singh Tax”.