PM says Congress, Opposition trying to \'dig my grave\', targets Rahul

On his sixth visit to Karnataka this year, Modi seemed to have given fresh momentum to the ruling BJP\'s bid for a successive term

NEW DELHI/MANDYA/DHARWAD: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday attacked Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for his remarks on democracy in the country at an international forum and said no power in the world can harm India's democratic traditions. Mounting an unsparing attack at a rally in poll-bound Karnataka, Mr Modi accused the Congress and other Opposition parties of being busy digging his grave, while he was working for the poor and the country.

On his sixth visit to the southern state this year, Mr Modi seemed to have given fresh momentum to the ruling BJP's bid for a successive term, even as the rival Congress has been mounting an aggressive attack over its saffron opponent on issues including corruption.

Assembly elections are due by May and Mr Modi addressed two public meetings -- in Mandya, in the Vokkaliga heartland of the Old Mysuru region and Dharwad in north Karnataka, where the politically influential Lingayat community holds the key to electoral fortunes.

In all, the Prime Minister dedicated and laid the foundation stones of projects worth around Rs 16,000 crores, including the Mysuru-Bengaluru Expressway. The Rs 8,480 crores expressway, which involved six-laning of the Bengaluru-Nidaghatta-Mysuru section of NH-275, will reduce the travel time between the two cities from around three hours to about 75 minutes, according to officials.

Targeting Mr Gandhi, albeit in a veiled attack, Mr Modi asserted that no power in this world can harm India's democratic traditions.

Without naming Mr Gandhi for his remarks made in London that the structures of Indian democracy are under "brutal attack", Mr Modi termed it an insult to the 12th century social reformer Basaveshwara, the people of Karnataka, India's great traditions and its citizens.

The Prime Minister's statement is being seen with political significance, as Basaveshwara is highly revered in Karnataka, especially by the dominant Lingayat community, who form the major vote base of the ruling BJP.

"I have come to the land of Bhagwan Basaveshwar and I'm feeling blessed. Among the contributions of Basaveshwara, most important is the establishment of Anubhava Mantapa; this democratic system is researched across the world and there are several such things because of which we say India is not just the largest democracy, it is also the mother of democracy," the Prime Minister said.

Addressing a large gathering after inaugurating the permanent campus of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Dharwad here, the Prime Minister said that he had the good fortune of unveiling the statue of Basaveshwara in London a few years ago.

"The statue of Lord Basaveshwar is in London, but it is unfortunate that in the same London, questions were raised on India's democracy; the roots of India's democracy have been nurtured by centuries of our history. No power in this world can harm India's democratic traditions. Despite this, some are constantly making it stand in the dock," Mr Modi said.

He noted that such people are insulting Bagawan Basaveshwara, the people of Karnataka, India's great traditions and the country's 130 crores aware citizens. The people of Karnataka should be cautious about such people.

Karnataka chief minister Basavaraj Bommai, who was appointed as the chairman of the state's election campaign committee, Union ministers and ministers from the state government were present on the occasions during which projects worth several thousand crores were dedicated to the nation.

Earlier in the day, after inaugurating the 118 km long Bengaluru-Mysuru Expressway in Mandya, Mr Modi accused the Congress and other Opposition parties of being busy digging his grave, while he was striving for the development of the country and the welfare of the poor. He asserted that the blessings of people are his biggest protection shield.

The Prime Minister also laid the foundation stone for the Mysuru-Kushalnagar four-lane highway, which will be developed at a cost of around `4,130 crores.

The Prime Minister said: "Amid the efforts of the double-engine government for the development of the country and the progress of its people, what are Congress and its associates doing? The Congress is dreaming about digging the kabr (grave) of Modi."

"The Congress is busy digging the grave of Modi, while Modi is busy building the Bengaluru-Mysuru Expressway. The Congress is busy digging Modi's grave, while Modi is busy improving the lives of the poor. The Congress people who are dreaming about digging the grave of Modi don't know that the blessings of crores of mothers, sisters, daughters, and people are the biggest protection shield for Modi," he said.

Mr Modi pointed out that prior to 2014, it was a coalition government (at the Centre) running with the support of various types of people. "It did not leave any stone unturned to destroy poor people and poor families. The money that was there for the development of the poor, thousands of crores of rupees of it, was looted by the Congress government," he claimed.

He alleged that the Congress never bothered about the pains and sufferings of the poor and said, "In 2014, when you (people) gave me the opportunity to serve you, it paved the way for the formation of a government for the poor in the country, a government that understood the pain and suffering of the poor. The BJP government has made all efforts to serve the poor and alleviate their sufferings."

Earlier, during a massive road show, Mr Modi threw flower petals back at the cheering crowd at several places as he was given a rousing welcome in the district headquarters city of Mandya.

He enthusiastically waved at the big crowd, which had lined up on both sides of the route, as the ruling BJP appeared focused on winning a good number of seats in the Old Mysuru region.

The Prime Minister picked up the shower petals, which got piled up on the bonnet of his car and was seen hurling them back at the crowd. He also got out of his car and greeted folk artists who staged a performance to welcome him.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle with agency inputs )
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