Gloves come off in heated lead-up to Karnataka elections

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Rahul Gandhi, center, president of India's main opposition Congress party, waves to the crowd before addressing acampaign rally ahead of the Karnataka state election in Bangalore on April 8. Photo: Reuters/Abhishek Chinnappa

Ahead of elections in the Indian state of Karnataka, Congress president Rahul Gandhi gave an ‘F’ on his report card to the ruling-Bharathiya Janata party for their contribution to agriculture in the state.

Gandhi took to Twitter on Thursday to post “Mr Modi’s Report Card,” saying Prime Minister Narendra Modi did not contribute anything from the US$1,275,000,000 farm waiver towards the minimum support price scheme for farmers in the Congress-led state.

Mr Modi’s Report Card

 

This came a day after Modi accused Congress of neglecting the agricultural sector in their state. He said: “They have been insensitive towards the aspirations of the farmers. The farmers of Karnataka deserve better.”

He blamed the Siddaramaiah-led Congress state government for failing to implement the government’s crop insurance scheme.

Gandhi, however, dismissed the claim and said that “farmers suffer” and “private insurance companies make huge profits” under the scheme. 

Earlier, Gandhi had dared Modi to allow him to speak for 15 minutes in Parliament, saying the prime minister would not be able to sit through those 15 minutes.

On Tuesday Modi hit back, challenging the Congress president to speak for 15 minutes on the achievements of the Congress government in Karnataka, without referring to notes and in any language he prefers including that of his mother, Sonia Gandhi, which is Italian.

“The Congress President is a naamdaar (known just by name). So how does he know about the efforts of kaamdaars. We are kaamdaars (known by our work). What is our level that we can sit with people like the Congress President who look down upon us? You can speak in Hindi, English or your mother’s mother tongue (Italian),” Modi said while addressing a rally.

The slugfest continues as the two parties aggressively campaign in Karnataka and will set a precedent for the general election next year.

Modi is set to hold 21 rallies instead of the 15 that was earlier reported along with the BJP’s star campaigner and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, Yogi Adityanath.

In the other camp, Gandhi along with current Chief Minister of Karnataka Siddaramaiah will also hold multiple rallies in the state on Thursday.

Ahead of these rallies, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra on Thursday launched an all-out offensive against Congress, accusing them of appeasement politics and for deploying a divide and rule policy to win votes, during a press conference in Bengaluru.

He also alleged that saffron flags were removed from temples in Karnataka to create divisions within the communities.

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