Wearing a Mysore peta – a traditional Kannada headgear – Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched a fresh wave of attack on the Congress in poll-bound Karnataka on Thursday afternoon in Kalaburagi (Gulbarga).
Addressing a huge public meeting at Navodaya Vidyalaya Ground in this north Karnataka region, the PM accused the grand old party of insulting soldiers and the memory of two of the state’s greatest sons – Field Marshal KM Cariappa and General Kodandera Subayya Thimayya.
“Field Marshal KM Cariappa and General Thimayya are renowned around the world for their strategic brilliance and leadership but it is well known how the Congress showed its apathy towards the two,” said the PM in the first of his three rallies scheduled for today in the state.
Referring to the 29 September 2016 surgical strike, the PM said that the Congress “shamelessly” kept asking for “proof” when “our soldiers did surgical strikes”.
“Congress has no respect for the sacrifices of our soldiers. When our soldiers did surgical strikes, the shameless Congress party questioned the strikes. All they kept asking for proof,” he said.
The PM then went on accusing former prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru and former Defence Minister Krishna Menon for insulting General Thimayya even after he secured India’s victory against Pakistan in 1947-48 war.
“Gen Thimmaya had to resign to protect the honour of his position. This is the attitude Congress had towards an army chief and this soil’s son,” thundered the PM as he campaigned for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the state.
He also attacked the Congress upon the remark of one of its leaders in which the Indian Army Chief Bipin Rawat was compared to a “goonda” (goon).
“Can even an illiterate commit the sin of calling soldiers, generals and other army commanders as ‘goonda’?” questioned the PM while charging the party for not taking action against the leader.
The remark, which blew into a controversy in mid-2017, was also condemned by Congress president Rahul Gandhi. The Congress had distanced itself from the remark which was made by Sandeep Dikshit, the son of former Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit.
The PM also accused the state government for blocking the initiatives taken by the Centre for the welfare of farmers.
“Kalaburagi is known for ‘Toor Dal’ cultivation. The farmers are working hard here and availing of the benefits of the central government schemes. However, the Karnataka government is insensitive towards the condition of farmers,” he said attacking the Siddaramaiah government.
“Congress sat over Swaminathan Commission recommendation to increase MSP for farmers. It’s not expected of them to accept this sin but they can at least keep quiet, when our government has approved its implementation,” said the PM.
Urging people to vote for BJP’s CM candidate BS Yeddyurappa, the PM said that the election is not only for changing the Congress government but for “changing the fate of youth, women and farmers of Karnataka”.
The PM is scheduled to address another rally in Ballari before wrapping up the day at Bengaluru (north) in the evening.
Karnataka heads to polls on 12 May, the day when Siddaramaiah took oath five years ago. The counting is scheduled for 15 May.