Home >Politics >Policy >Sonia Gandhi hits campaign trail, crosses swords with PM Modi in Karnataka

Bengaluru: Both the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have fielded their top leaders on Tuesday, as campaigning for the Karnataka assembly elections enters the last phase.

Former Congress president Sonia Gandhi addressed an election rally on Tuesday after a gap of nearly two years, while Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress president Rahul Gandhi continued with their campaigns.

Sonia Gandhi attacked Modi at an election rally in Vijaypura, alleging that the Union government had discriminated against Karnataka. Modi had also not met chief minister Siddaramaiah, who had wished to raise issues concerning the state, particularly with respect to the agrarian crisis, she said.

“He (Modi) has insulted the people of Karnataka. It is surprising that states which faced drought were given crores of rupees but Karnataka was given the least. This was like adding salt to the injury of farmers of Karnataka. Is this your ‘Sabka saath, sabka vikas’?" she asked at the rally.

The Prime Minister’s oratory alone will not fill the stomachs of hungry people, empower women, create employment or end diseases, she pointed out.

Modi held three back-to-back rallies on Tuesday — in Vijaypura, Koppal and Bengaluru.

At his rally in Vijaypura, Modi said the Congress party is trying to divide India on the basis of religion and urged voters to not only defeat it in these elections, but also to “punish it" in the future. He also hurled allegations of corruption against the state government led by Siddaramaiah.

He claimed that the Centre has allocated Rs1 trillion to revitalise education and boost skill development. “The BJP has educated the youth and given jobs to people. We have also succeeded in helping farmers through the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bheema Yojana," he said.

In Koppal, Modi also took potshots at the Congress president. Without naming Rahul Gandhi, Modi said he was a “naamdar", who “was born with a golden spoon", adding that when he talked about the need to build toilets so that women are not inconvenienced by having to go to open fields to relieve themselves, people made fun of him.

In Bengaluru, Modi concentrated on development-related claims, highlighting the achievements of his four-year-old Union government. “More people are travelling in airplanes these days than air-conditioned coaches in trains," he said in Hindi.

“Development is the BJP’s only mantra," he said, adding that the nature of the Congress, on the other hand, whether in Karnataka or across India, is characterized by dynasty politics, corruption, rampant lawlessness and criminalisation, contributing to agrarian distress, and division of the society.

Modi claimed to have boosted the confidence of investors in India, enabling ease of doing business and attracting more foreign direct investments. He also highlighted some national projects, including electrification of at least 18,000 villages and providing gas connections to at least 10 crore families in the last four years.

“India’s perception has changed over the last four years. Before 2014, we were in the list of ‘fragile five’ but now we are seen as a strong economy," Modi said. He also claimed to have shut down illegal shell companies and to have made the laws stricter so that businesses remain clean of black money.

Anuja from New Delhi and PTI contributed to this story.

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