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Karnataka polls: It is Siddaramaiah versus Narendra Modi and this tweet reveals why

By Anusha Ravi

The Congress in Karnataka is going beyond the regional leaders of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to attack Prime Minister Narendra Modi directly. After his scathing attacks on PM Modi in a press conference on Monday, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah took the battle to the next level on Tuesday.

Siddaramaiah and Narendra Modi

In a single tweet, Siddaramaiah has made it clear that Karnataka Assembly Elections 2018 is all about him versus Prime Minister Narendra Modi directly surpassing all local leadership.

Going beyond issues pertaining to Karnataka, Siddaramaiah has challenged Prime Minister Modi to act on issues plaguing the BJP at a national level. "He (Siddaramaiah) would like to make it a local versus outsider issue and can do so only if he makes it him versus Modi directly," said political analyst Dr Narendar Pani of National Institute of Advanced Studies. Dr Pani believes that Siddaramaiah's moves to take on the Prime Minister ahead of the assembly elections in Karnataka are an attempt to elevate regional leadership to the next level.

The Congress is unabashed about the direct battle pitched between Siddaramaiah and Narendra Modi. "We will not take things lying down whether it is Modi or Amit Shah. CM has been leading the attacks from the front. We have no hesitation in taking on Modi," said Dinesh Gundu Rao, Working President, KPCC. The dwindling importance of the local leadership of the BJP, the Congress says, is another factor in its direct battle with the party's central leadership.

The state BJP has, however, accused the Siddaramaiah of attempting to skirt state issues by invoking Modi. "People are not fools. They are going to vote for assembly elections in Karnataka and Siddaramaiah is answerable to them. PM is too tall for them," said Malavika Avinash, Spokesperson, BJP.

The Congress hasn't spared PM Modi from a comparison as well. "PM Modi is seen as a person who talks and never delivers whereas Siddaramaiah is a person who delivers and then talks," Rao added.

Analysts say that the transition for a state leader to attack none other than the Prime Minister is impossible without the high command's support. "This is about allowing a state leader to establish themselves on the national stage. Siddaramaiah being allowed to do so within the Congress is interesting," Dr Pani said.

Karnataka Assembly Election dates
Date of notification April 17
Last date to file nominations April 24
Last date to withdraw nominations April 27
Date of polling May 12
Date of counting May 15

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