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PM Modi boosts BJP’s poll prospects in Karnataka, jittery Congress flies in Sonia

The two day long mega road show of PM Modi in Karnataka’s capital will come to an end today.

Bengaluru: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s second consecutive roadshow in Bengaluru attracted even bigger crowds than the first, giving a big push to the BJP’s poll prospects in the last leg of the Karnataka election campaign.

The “electrifying” response of the people to the Prime Minister’s roadshows in the state capital and elsewhere indicate that the BJP is gaining the upper hand over Congress in a tight race, and be able to take the tally beyond the half-way mark of 113 seats when the ballots are counted on May 13.

The Congress, in a panic reaction, brought the party veteran, Sonia Gandhi, 76, out of the mothballs and she addressed a public meeting at Hubballi with just three days to go for polling. She had not attended any election campaign since 2019 Lok Sabha polls due to health reasons.

Prime Minister Modi, who addressed a massive rally at Shivamogga on Sunday indirectly took a dig at the Congress saying that “the party is suddenly so scared that it had resorted to bringing back leaders who had not campaigned for years.” He said Congress’ “balloon of lies” was no longer effective as the people had burst it.

“The Congress has started dumping responsibility of defeat on each other as they always do,” he remarked.

Special bonding with people

Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s special bonding with the people of Bengaluru was on display once again on Sunday and it was a ‘show-stopper’ like never witnessed before. Despite it being early morning and the city being lashed by intermittent, sharp showers, the “Modi fans” had lined up the streets in thousands to have a glimpse of their ‘hero’ whom they had seen only on television screens.

Excitement was palpable in the air as people of all ages dressed nattily and carrying the Hanuman or the party flags, as if it was a festive occasion, kept themselves busy with slogans like “Modi, Modi…” and “Jai Bajrangbali…” while they waited for the entourage to arrive.

Starting from the Kempegowda statue at New Thippasandra and travelling to New BEML gate, ESI Hospital junction, Dommalur, Chinmaya Mission Hospital, Halasur and ending at Trinity junction, the prime minister’s motorcade “electrified” the atmosphere wherever it went.

  A political rock star

The prime minister, surrounded by a phalanx of security personnel, was showered with flowers by the enthusiastic crowd. He returned some of them resting on the specially-designed open-top jeep and waved at the people with a broad smile and saluted them. For most people who attended the roadshow, it was a memorable experience to see and those who were lucky, even make eye contact with a political ‘rock star’, who has earned the love and respect of the people across the country over the last nine years.

The prime minister had shortened his roadshow in order not to inconvenience the students taking the NEET exam which was held on Sunday. After flying out of Bengaluru and on reaching Shivamogga, he addressed a huge public gathering. Recalling his experience at the rodshow, he said, “the people of Bengaluru have shown immense love and trust in me and it has touched my heart. I will ever be indebted to the people of Karnataka.”

Expressing confidence that the BJP government would return in Karnataka after the May 10 pollls, prime minister Modi said he would like to give “an asli guarantee” to the people that he would do his best for the development of the state. Having picked up some Kannada in the last few days, PM Modi said, “Ee baariya nirdhara, bahumathada BJP sarkara,” (The resolve this time is to elect a BJP government with a full majority) and made the audience repeat after him.

 Assurance to farmers

At the rally at Shivamogga, he assured the areca-nut growers, one of the main agricultural products of the district, prime minister Modi said his government was committed to support the farmers fully. Pointing out that during the UPA regime, the Centre was allowing import of a cheap variety of areca-nut with Minimum Import Price (MIP) of Rs 100 per kg, he said soon after the BJP came to power at the Centre it had raised the MIP to Rs 350 per kg enabling local farmers to get better price and good income to support their families.

Pointing out that his government was giving great importance to and developing new markets for agriculture exports, he said India today was one of the top 10 exporters of agricultural products in the world and it would soon enter the top five bracket. He said even though the fertilizer prices had risen and the government was paying Rs 1.3 lakh crore additionally, it had not allowed the price rise to affect the farmers.

As the BJP’s campaign in Karnataka appeared to be lagging behind and the state leaders were on the defensive over the Congress’ party’s jibe, “40% Sarkar”, the prime minister and the Union home minister have resorted to hectic and aggressive campaigning over the last 10 days, making the public mood more favourable to the BJP. PM Modi, for instance, shut the Congress leaders on the corruption issue by pointing out that late Rajiv Gandhi had admitted to “85% commission” when the Congress ruled from ‘Parliament to the panchayat’ and all that money was going into the pockets of Congress Netas and workers.