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PM Modi’s hectic poll campaign in Karnataka puts Congress on backfoot

PM Modi, who is drawing massive crowds in his hectic election campaigning for the BJP, has accused the Congress of kneeling before terrorism to save its vote bank

Bengaluru: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has put the Congress on the backfoot in the Karnataka poll campaign first on the issue of the party equating the Bajrang Dal with the Islamic terror outfit PFI and followed it up by slamming the Congress’s demand for banning the film “The Kerala Story.” 

PM Modi, who is drawing massive crowds in his hectic election campaigning for the BJP, has accused the Congress of “kneeling before terrorism” to save its vote bank on the two issues.

After hitting out against the Congress manifesto and raising chants of “Jai Barangbali” at every public meeting, the prime minister accused the Congress of opposing the film The Kerala Story as the party  “always sided with the terrorists rather than nationalists.” The story-line of the film is based on terrorist conspiracies in Kerala.

“Bombs, guns and pistols make a lot of noise, but there is no sound of a terrorist conspiracy which can hollow the society from within. Every country is concerned with terrorism. ‘The Kerala Story’, which has been cleared for public viewing by the courts, including the Supreme Court, has generated a lot of debate among the public, but the Congress party is standing with terrorism apologists,” PM Modi said in his election rallies.

Coordinated attack on terrorism

The prime minister’s reference to terrorism and its implications for India came on the same day when 10 soldiers were martyred fighting a pitched battle with ISI-backed terrorists at Rajouri in Kashmir and India’s External Affairs Minister Jaishankar gave a dressing down to his Pakistani counterpart Bilawal Bhutto attending an SCO meeting at Goa. Jaishankar, who did not even shake hands with Bhutto, made it clear that “a victim of terror cannot sit for a dialogue with the promoter of terrorism” and the only question to be resolved with Pakistan was to take back the Pakistan Occupied Kashmir illegally held by it.

Prime Minister Modi, who has extended his stay in Karnataka by two more days in a determined bid to ensure that the BJP retains power in Karnataka, said the Congress was shuddering at the support BJP was getting from the people and they were scared every time he raised the slogan, ‘Jai Bajrangbali’. He asked the audience to repeat the slogan. He accused Congress of being soft on terror and “brokering a back-door deal with the supporters of extremism.”

Adroitly turning Congress party’s ‘love’ for PFI and ‘hatred’ for Bajrang Dal against it, he said, he was surprised that for the sake of power Congress had surrendered before terror. “Can such a party protect Karnataka and its civilians in any way? Under the climate of terror, Karnataka’s important industries, the IT sector and the farmers as well as its rich culture will be destroyed,” he warned.

PM slams disinformation

Dismissing some pre-poll surveys giving the Congress an ‘edge’ over BJP as “disinformation campaign”, he said the Congress had been using corruption to loot the people ever since Independence, and now, it was using disinformation as a tool to fool the people to win elections and continue its loot.

Prime Minister Modi countered Congress party’s ‘40% commission’ barb against the BJP government in Karnataka by pointing out that late Rajiv Gandhi when he was the prime minister had lamented that out of Re 1 sent by the Centre only 15 paise reached the people. He said, it was clear from Rajiv Gandhi’s statement that Congress had “long back accepted that it was an 85% commission party as it then ruled the country from parliament to the panchayat level.”

Terming the Congress manifesto as “a bundle of lies” which could never be implemented and the Congress had no intention of implementing it either if it came to power, he urged the people of Karnataka to have faith in BJP and vote for its candidates as “we have a roadmap to make Karnataka the Number One state in the country.”

Prime Minister Modi, after addressing a few more rallies in north Karnataka, will be heading to Bengaluru on Saturday to hold two roadshows on Saturday and Sunday over 36 km covering 18 constituencies. As Bengaluru is notorious for its traffic jams, the road show has been split over two days to avoid inconvenience to the public.

But given his popularity in Karnataka, the roadshows are expected to pump up Bangloreans to go to the polling booths in large numbers on May 10 and dispel the impression that they generally tend to be lazy and take off on a holiday whenever elections are held. The Bengaluru Urban and Rural constituencies, which together account for 32 seats and the BJP only managed 15 victories last time, could make a huge difference to the final outcome if people turn up in large numbers.

Prime Minister Modi knows that Bengaluru holds the ‘key’ to this election and he will do his utmost to inspire people to come out and vote.