Rahul takes selfies, rides Metro, addresses rally in Bengaluru
Bengaluru: All India Congress Committee (AICC) president Congress party chief Rahul Gandhi visiting Bengaluru on Sunday checked in at bookstores, took a metro ride, stopped at the iconic Koshy’s restaurant for lunch and bought Kulfi from a local vendor. All the public interactions, part of his two-day visit to the city and neighbouring districts, were accompanies by selfies with citizens.
Accompanied by senior Congress leaders including Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah, Gandhi started the day with an informal media interaction before meeting with Pourakarmikas (civic workers), leading women personalities including Kavita Lankesh, sister of slain journalist Gauri Lankesh and others and addressed a public gathering in Palace grounds in Bengaluru.
With assembly polls scheduled on 12 May, Gandhi and the entire Congress leadership has been carrying out extensive outreach programmes to retain power in the state, one of the last few that continues to be under its rule. Though the Karnataka campaign is led by Siddaramaiah, Gandhi has been on the campaign trail to revive the party nationally as well ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, where it will take on Prime Minister Narendra Modi led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Gandhi alleged that the BJP and RSS (Rashtriya Swayam Sevaks) were out to destroy the culture of Bengaluru and the country.
“This election is a fight between two ideologies. On one side you have the ideology of the RSS, of Mr Amit Shah. An ideology that does not respect the average human being. The president of the BJP can publicly state that all opposition are animals. This is a reflection on his way of thinking. This is a reflection on his culture, this is a reflection of what he has been taught. This is not the way of the Congress party and this not the way of Karnataka, this is not the way of Bengaluru,” Gandhi said.
Gandhi went on to state that the Congress would protect and nurture Bengaluru as it would strengthen not just the state but also the country.
With 28 of the 224 assembly seats in Bengaluru alone, the city is in every sense the powerhouse of Karnataka with all parties trying their best to bag the maximum number of seats here. The state government has extended populist programmes centred around food even in Bengaluru by setting up Indira canteens, a subsidised food venture, aimed at the urban poor.
Gandhi’s multiple meetings in the city were aimed at mobilising support from all sections of society to ensure the party can better its 2013 performance in the city as well as the state. Though all three parliamentary seats of Bengaluru are with the BJP, the Congress has a higher number of seats in the assembly constituencies.
“We are fighting an idea that wants to destroy the culture of Bengaluru. It is an idea that does not respect the cosmopolitan culture of this city, it is an idea that does not respect the multitude of ideas in this city, it is an idea that does not respect the rights of the women of this city, the rights of the poor people in the city. It is an idea that does not respect the multiple languages that are spoken in this city and we are going to fight that idea and we are going to defeat that idea in the coming election,” he said.
The frothing and toxic lakes of Bengaluru, traffic issues, crumbling public infrastructure and other civic issues have made international headlines and dented the city’s reputation.
The Congress government in Karnataka has been investing in Bengaluru and rebranding the city in an effort to salvage the city’s image.
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