Mysuru: Prime Minister Narendra Modi Tuesday said Congress president Rahul Gandhi did not contest Lok Sabha polls from Karnataka fearing revenge by coalition partner JDS' supremo H D Deve Gowda for being 'backstabbed' by Sonia Gandhi when he was removed as prime minister.
Addressing a rally here, he said the only vision and agenda of the Congress was "Modi Hatao" (remove Modi), which was also shared by the partners of "Mahamilavat", a derisive reference to the "grand alliance" of opposition parties.
Modi said Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy has become a "punching bag" for the Congress.
He said though the Congress was sharing power with JDS in the state, Gandhi preferred Kerala for his second seat besides the traditional stronghold of Amethi in Uttar Pradesh rather than Karnataka.
Modi claimed this was because the Congress feared that Gowda might take revenge over former Congress chief Sonia Gandhi "backstabbing" him when he was removed as prime minister heading the United Front government in 1996.
He also said one could imagine the plight of the Congress today when its president's existing seat itself was in danger, referring to Rahul Gandhi contesting from the second seat of Wayanad in Kerala.