Modi accuses Congress of advocating for separating Karnataka from India

Bengaluru: In a blistering attack on the Congress during his last campaign rally in Mysuru district ahead of the May 10 Assembly polls, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday accused the party of openly advocating for "separating" Karnataka from India. He alleged that the "disease" of the "tukde-tukde gang" had reached the Congress' top level.

Targeting the BJP’s arch-rival in the impending elections, the Prime Minister at the Shivamogga rally said the "scared" Congress brought in its veteran leader Sonia Gandhi for campaigning in the Karnataka elections after its "lies did not work". Earlier in the day, Mr Modi held a massive roadshow in Bengaluru and interacted with members of the Hakki Pikki tribe, who were evacuated from Sudan under Operation Kaveri, in Shivamogga.

Addressing a public meeting in Mysuru district, Mr Modi claimed, "When it comes to working against India's interests, Congress' 'royal family' will be at the forefront. I want to speak about a serious issue here... I want to say it because there is a lot of pain in my heart. This country can never forgive such a game. This family, to influence the politics in the country, is encouraging foreign forces to interfere."

Continuing his attack, Mr Modi accused the Congress leaders of secretly meeting foreign diplomats who hate India and repeatedly indulging in activities that insult India's sovereignty, adding, "they were not ashamed of it".

Stating that in this Karnataka election, the Congress' "shahi parivar" had gone a step ahead "breaking all the limits and crushing the feelings of the country", Mr Modi said, "not only Karnataka, I want to tell this to the entire country with a lot of pain that in this election Congress' 'shahi parivar' yesterday came to Karnataka and said that they want to protect the "sovereignty" of Karnataka.

"Karnataka's sovereignty -- you know what is the meaning of it? They have sat in Parliament for so many years, they have taken oaths on India's Constitution, and they say this... When a country becomes Independent, it is called a sovereign country. The meaning of what Congress is saying is that the Congress believes that Karnataka is separate from India," he said, without taking any names.

Asking people whether they approved of it and whether they would punish the Congress for such a statement, the Prime Minister said, "It meant that the Congress was openly advocating for separating Karnataka from India."

"I had never thought that the disease of the tukde-tukde gang would reach the Congress' top level," he said, accusing the party of insulting Kannada fighters who fought for India's Independence and insulting the patriotism of crores of Kannadigas.

Noting that this was the land where "Rashtra Kavi" Kuvempu had said Karnataka was an integral part of India with the lines in the state anthem, "Jaya Bharata Jananiya Tanujate Jaya he Karnataka Maate", Mr Modi said, "For every Kannadiga, Karnataka is a mother and she has been described as the daughter of 'Bharat ma'. I can feel the feelings of Kannadigas."

Insulting the feelings of Karnataka was like insulting the "culture and pride" of the state, he added.

At an election rally in Shivamogga, Mr Modi, without taking the name of Mrs Gandhi, said, "Now, the Congress is so afraid and scared that when their lies did not work, then those who are not taking part in campaigning are being brought here. The Congress has started dumping the responsibility of defeat on each other."

On Saturday, Mrs Gandhi, who has largely stayed away from campaigning and public rallies since the 2019 Lok Sabha polls reportedly due to health reasons, addressed her first election meeting in Karnataka, which votes on May 10.

The Prime Minister also said that the Congress' "balloon of lies is no longer working as people have burst it".

As Mr Modi was presented a Hanuman idol and a saffron-colored "Shivaji" turban, the crowd roared with "Jai Sri Ram" (Hail Lord Ram) chants while the Prime Minister raised "Bajrang Bali Ki Jai" (Hail Hanuman) slogans.

The Prime Minister said that he was touched by the overwhelming response to his roadshow held in Bengaluru earlier on Sunday.

"It was supposed to be a long roadshow, but due to the NEET exam, I told our party that our exam (election) is on May 10, whereas the children's exam is today. Hence, we should take care of their exams. So, we did a roadshow in the morning and finished it early," he said.

Mr Modi said that despite being a Sunday, the strength Bengaluru displayed, the faith it reposed and the love it demonstrated touched his heart and he will be indebted to Karnataka.

The Prime Minister said he wanted to pay back the love and blessings showered on him by the people. "I want to give you the original guarantee for your love and blessings; I will develop Karnataka and refund your love with interest," he said.

In Bengaluru, a day before the final day of campaigning for the May 10 Assembly polls in Karnataka, the Prime Minister held a massive roadshow in the city, waving at a large number of enthusiastic crowds lined up on both sides of the 8 km route from Kempegowda statue at New Thippasandra Road to Trinity Circle.

The roadshow that began with Mr Modi paying floral tributes to the statue of Kempegowda (the founder of Bengaluru) passed through parts of east and central Bengaluru, touching about half-a-dozen Assembly segments.

The Prime Minister was accompanied in the specially designed vehicle by Union minister of state Rajeev Chandrasekhar, who is a Rajya Sabha member from Karnataka and Bengaluru Central MP P.C. Mohan.

At the Trinity Circle, where the roadshow culminated, Mr Modi repeatedly bowed with folded hands to the large crowd gathered there, amid loud cheers.

In Shivamogga, the Prime Minister interacted with members of the Hakki Pikki tribe, who were evacuated from Sudan. The evacuees profusely thanked the Prime Minister for the proactive steps taken by the government to ensure their timely and safe evacuation. They recounted the tough circumstances they faced in Sudan and how the government and Indian embassy ensured their safety.

The Prime Minister recalled how the forefathers of the community members stood alongside Maharana Pratap. He said that if any Indian anywhere in the world was in any kind of difficulty, the government would not rest until the problem was resolved.

"Some politicians tried to politicise the issue, and our concern was that if they expose where Indians are hidden, they may face greater danger. So the government worked quietly to ensure everyone's safety," Mr Modi was quoted as saying.

The Prime Minister asked them to remember the strength of the country that has stood up for them and always be ready to help those in trouble and contribute to society and the country.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle with agency inputs )
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