Prime Minister Narendra Modi today launched the BJP’s election campaign in the state by making a determined bid to woo the voters while assuring a clean, honest and development-oriented government, including a global benchmarked infrastructure.
Karnataka goes to the polls this May with the BJP, under Mr B S Yeddyurappa, its state president, seeking to regain power while the Congress under chief minister Siddaramiah fighting to retain control.
Mr Modi, who was addressing a well-attended public rally to mark the culmination of BJP’s Parivartan Yatra, waded into the ongoing controversy about the alleged failure of the Siddaramiah government in utilising Central funds while highlighting the growing corruption in the state. He took a jibe at the government alleging that that it had come to be known as the “ten per cent” government, that being the commission to get any work.
He also reeled off figures to highlight the series of schemes under which the central government had approved several thousand crore rupees for the state, though most of it remained poorly utilised or totally neglected. Cases in point, he said, were the Prime Minster’s Awas Yojana, Swachh Bharat programme and the Smart Cities mission, among others.
In the PM Awas yojana programme alone, against the 3.3 lakh houses that were approved, the state had built only 38,000.
The state government had not bothered to take these schemes to their logical conclusion, he charged, adding that during UPA rule, Karnataka had received only Rs 73, 000 crore against which the NDA government had provided over Rs 2 lakh crore to the state. “Have you seen this money being well spent?” he asked the voters.
The Prime Minister also slammed the ruling Congress which he said had turned Bengaluru into a crime capital. While the central government was focussing on’ease of business “ and “ease of living,” the IT capital was seeing an “ease of murder” situation with crime becoming rampant in the city.
In this context he also slammed the fact that several BJP workers had lost their lives.
Accordingly, he said the time had come to throw out the government which was already standing “near the exit gate.”
He underlined the need for a government which would work closely with the Centre even as he claimed that the Congress could not match the commitment shown by the NDA government in taking the country forward.
Giving the Congress Mukt again, he said it was time to throw out a corrupt regime which was promoting nepotism, where I-T raids on its ministers were common, also evidenced by the controversy over the steel bridge proposal. This had to be dropped following loud protests from the public because of the alleged corruption involved.
Promising to provide the very best facilities for the people of Karnataka if his party was voted to power in the state, he said Mr Yeddyurappa had already committed that he would provide huge sums for irrigation to improve the lot of the farmers.
He also elaborated on the various welfare schemes which the NDA government had announced in the Union budget, including healthcare and the steps taken to boost farmers’ income and agriculture besides the huge allocation for infrastructure development.
He also attacked the Congress for repeatedly playing the politics of minority appeasement. A case in point was its stance on the triple talaq bill.
The party, he said. was trying to do the same with the OBC bill.