BENGALURU: The mood was jubilant among the Congress leaders, the crowds were obliging and Chief Minister Siddaramaiah threw the question, “Acche din kab aayenge Modiji, maloom nahi,”
Thus started the Congress’ ‘Mane Manege’ campaign on Saturday with a bevy of top Congress leaders campaigning door to door in Agaduru ward of Mahadevapura. All India Congress Committee (AICC) General Secretary K C Venugopal, Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president G Parameshwara, KPCC working president Dinesh Gundu Rao, Minister D K Shivakumar and other senior leaders were all in tow visiting houses and interacting with people.
After managing to visit a mere five houses, the retinue headed to the Mahadevapura grounds, where Siddaramaiah lambasted the Modi government. “Travelling by airplanes, tours abroad and ‘mann ki baat’. These are the only achievements of the Modi government. He is only about ‘mann ki baat’. We are about ‘kaam ki baat.’ In his three years of governance, he made sure all the rich, the investors and the corporates flourished while the poor and the middle class suffered.
This is ‘sab ka saath, sab ka vikaas,” he said. He also called the Modi government as the U-turn government, saying that he had earlier opposed, GST, FDI and Aadhaar, but was trying to implement them now. Siddaramaiah said his government had fulfilled most of the promises made in the manifesto and unlike BJP, the Congress had no need to lie about its achievements. The CM also announced Indira canteens in every district by March-end.
He criticised the state BJP unit saying that they did not have the guts to ask Modi for waiver of loans availed from nationalised banks.”Even when leaders of all parties met Modi in Delhi to seek loan waiver, the state BJP leaders did not open their mouths. They threatened to lay siege to Vidhana Soudha if we did not waive farmers’ loans. Now that we have waived loans taken from state co-operative banks, they are not uttering a word,” he said.
He also mocked Yeddyurappa generously. “He is a pseudo politician. He keeps threatening to release a chargesheet against me and my ministers. Does he need an auspicious time to do that? He himself has been caught up in so many cases and has even gone to jail. What chargesheet will he file against us,” he questioned.
66,000 booth-level workers participate in campaign
The campaign is being conducted to inform people about the various government schemes. A total of 66,000 booth level agents will cover 224 assembly constituencies in this grassroots level campaign. A few people had put up banners at the place where the programme was to be held. The banners stated that those who had lost twice in elections should not be given tickets, and locals should be accommodated. Congress workers tore down these posters. Before the event, a meeting was held at the CM’s residence with top leaders to discuss poll strategy. The leaders visited the Varasiddhi Vinayaka temple in Ramagondanahalli and offered prayers before embarking on the campaign. Many women offered ‘arati’ to Siddaramaiah. This also meant that the leaders had to shell out a lot of money to put into the ‘arati’ plate. While Siddaramaiah spent more than `3,000, others leaders doled out `500 notes.