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Karnataka polls: "Modi drives looking at rearview mirror," Rahul Gandhi's jibe at Janaashirwada Yatr

By Anusha Ravi

"Modi speaks of corruption but his BJP government in Karnataka broke the world record of corruption when they were in power but today Rafale deal is the biggest scam," Rahul Gandhi said during the launch of Congress' Janaashirwada yatre in Ballari on Saturday.

Rahul Gandhi in Bellary

In his first visit to Karnataka post his party's thumping victory in Rajasthan polls and being elected as the President of AICC, Rahul Gandhi kickstarted Congress' official campaign for Karnataka Assembly Elections 2018. Under the name 'JanaAshirwada' the Congress chose to begin its campaign in Hyderabad-Karnataka region.

Speaking of Rafale deal, Rahul Gandhi reiterated that PM Modi took away the contract from HAL and awarded it to "his friend". "Why did you snatch the deal from HAL and award it to your friend? Why destroy the future of youths of Bengaluru? What is the price of each jet fighter according to your new deal? Did you seek permission from cabinet committee for security?," Rahul Gandhi questioned the Prime Minister.

"Learn from Siddaramaiah"

Building the Siddaramaiah versus Modi narrative in poll-bound Karnataka, Congress President Rahul Gandhi said that PM Modi has a lot of learning to do from Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah. The AICC President said that Siddaramaiah, unlike Modi, did not give excuses but waived loans, set up canteens for the poor.

Mocking PM Modi's reply in Parliament, Rahul Gandhi highlighted that he spoke only of the Congress and the past but refused to spell out his plans for the future of the country. "The Prime Minister drives his vehicle looking just in the rearview mirror and is causing accidents like demonetisation and Gabbar Singh Tax (GST). The country hasn't elected you to look in the rearview mirror alone. Learn from Siddaramaiah how to look forward," Rahul Gandhi tore into the Prime Minister.

Karnataka polls:

"People of Karnataka have to decide their future. You need to decide who you trust. On the one side is Congress with Siddaramaiah and me and on the other is BJP and Narendra Modi," Rahul Gandhi. Throughout his speech, Rahul Gandhi stressed on the Congress' role in according special status to the region under article 371(J). Speaking of the 'special bond' he shares with Ballari, Rahul Gandhi concluded by assuring that he would return anytime the people of the region needed him.

"Karnataka is made by its poor, women, farmers, youth and traders. We respect your strength and work for you. You supported Sonia Gandhi and I will never forget that. Let us make Karnataka better together," he concluded.

Congress leaders call PM Modi a liar

A host of Congress leaders including Mallikarjun Kharge and Parameshwar accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of lying to the people of the country and attacked the BJP. Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah urged people to create an atmosphere to make Rahul Gandhi the next Prime Minister. "You (PM Modi) have uttered a bag of lies and our people will not believe you. Your lies and communalism will not work in Karnataka. This is a secular land- the land of Basavanna," Siddaramaiah said.

Karnataka polls: Startline Ballari for Rahul Gandhi; Why the district is important

The leader of opposition in Lok Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) during his speech. "Prime Minister Narendra Modi only goes about telling lies. I will quit my post if he proves his claims of Nehru compromising on Kashmir," Kharge said. "The BJP remembers Dr Ambedkar only during elections," he alleged. Pulling up the PM on his comments against Renuka Chowdhury, Kharge warned people that if voted back to power, the Modi government would destroy the ideals of democracy.

Rahul Gandhi will tour districts of Hyderabad-Karnataka till February 13 and end his visit at Bidar- the northernmost part of Karnataka. Rahul Gandhi is scheduled to visit temples, Lingayat mutt, dargah as well as Anubhava Mantapa- Basavanna's temple of learning and debate.

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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