Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Saturday exuded confidence that the Congress will retain power in the state, even as he asserted that "none can stop" party chief Rahul Gandhi from becoming the next prime minister of the country.
Addressing the Congress' plenary session here, he said the upcoming state polls will work as a "big boost" and a "stepping stone" for the party ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
"No one can stop Rahul Gandhi (Congress president) from becoming the country's prime minister after the next general polls," Siddaramaiah said.
"It is going to be a secularism versus communalism contest (in Karnataka). The Congress is confident that under Rahul ji's leadership, we will come back to power with a thumping majority in the southern state," he said.
The greater part of Siddaramaiah's speech was on the welfare programmes undertaken in Karnataka.
Leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, who also hails from the state, also exuded confidence in the party's electoral prospects.
Referring to the UPA's decision to waive farmers' loan, Kharge asked how much debt of peasants was written off by BJP-led governments.
He said the people have answered this question in Gorakhpur, where the ruling BJP in Uttar Pradesh lost to SP recently. Gorakhpur is Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath's home turf.
"And he (Adityanath) comes for campaigning in Karnataka," Kharge said while taking a dig at the priest-turned-politician.
The high-octane campaign for the Karnataka polls is underway with the heavyweights of both Congress and BJP canvassing in the state. The H D Deve Gowda-led JD(S) is the other major party in the fray.