Bengaluru, May 7: The Swaraj India party, which is fighting its debut elections in Karnataka, has come under the attack for its alleged "tactical support" to the Congress. In the recent times, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has alleged that since the incumbent Congress has given unconditional support to Swaraj India party candidate Darsah Puttannaiah, who is contesting polls from Melkote constituency, both the political parties have a "secret understanding". The Congress did not field any candidate from the constituency.
At a press meet in Shimoga on Sunday, Yogendra Yadav, one of the founder members of the Swaraj India party, told reporters, "The Congress has extended unconditional support to our candidate in Melkote out of respect to the departed farmers' leader KS Puttannaiah. And his son Darshan Puttannaiah happens to be our candidate. But we have not extended support to the Congress in any constituency in Karnataka."
"We shall not be a party to the formation of a communal government in Karnataka. Today, the BJP is the most communal and corrupt party in Karnataka and it is dangerous for Karnataka. The Congress too has failed to fulfill the expectations of the people. And it would not be unfair to say that the third option is available to the highest bidder," he added, making a veiled attack against the Janata Dal (Secular), the party which has literally become a "punching bag" for both the BJP and the Congress.
The Swaraj India party has fielded 11 candidates for the upcoming Karnataka Assembly elections scheduled on May 12. The results of the elections will be declared on May 15. A total of 224 seats are up for grabs in the high-profile elections which both the BJP and the Congress are trying to win at any cost.
At the press club in Shimoga, where Yadav addressed reporters, he also unveiled the English version of the party manifesto. A few days ago, the Swaraj India party unveiled the Kannada version of the manifesto in Bengaluru.
When asked, if the Swaraj India party would support the Congress or the BJP in case no party gets a clear majority, Yadav said, "Our first loyalty and our first alliance will be with the people's movements. We have an alliance with Maha Maîtri in Karnataka. We have fielded 11 candidates and it's a small experiment to bring in alternative politics, probity, and transparency in polls and launch value-based politics."
Further attacking both the BJP and the Congress, Yadav, the national president of the Swaraj India party, said, "In this Karnataka election, there is a talk of freedom from the Congress, while the Congress says we need freedom from the BJP. For us, freedom means freedom from suicide, drought and unemployment. We want freedom from corruption and communalism, and freedom to get and enjoy free and high-quality education and healthcare."
Yadav, who has been leading a farmers' movement in the state, explained about the core issues covered in the manifesto of his party.
"One of our top priorities is to highlight the farmers' issues. In the whole of Karnataka, farmers are not getting minimum support price (MSP) even in one mandi (market). Our party's priorities are in the manifesto written by the great Kannada writer Devanoora Mahadeva with his team after taking into consideration all the voices and expectations of diverse people and groups. It talks about resources, rivers waters, lakes, development and fight against corruption. I request everyone to read it (manifesto). It is in our Swaraj India website," he said.