Karnataka polls: Gloves off, Modi, Rahul Gandhi trade barbs as election heat rises

Rahul launched a blistering attack on the PM in Ankola accusing him of helping businessmen like Nirav Modi and Vijay Mallya and not farmers.

Published: 27th April 2018 04:18 AM  |   Last Updated: 28th April 2018 03:04 PM   |  A+A-

A young boy greets Rahul Gandhi on his arrival at Hubballi airport on Thursday

By Express News Service

BENGALURU: As electioneering for the May 12 assembly polls entered the final phase, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Thursday launched a no-holds-barred attack on each other.

PM Modi was the first to fire a salvo. During his interaction with the BJP candidates contesting the assembly polls, Modi said, “Can anyone deny that the Congress culture spoiled the country? The system cannot be cleaned until we uproot the Congress culture from mainstream politics in India.”  He interacted with the party candidates over video-conference from the national capital.

Refering to opinion polls predicting a hung assembly in Karnataka, Modi appealed to party members to not pay heed. “International agencies are being hired to spread lies and indulge in manipulation. Despite their attempts, you should only concentrate on development as primary agenda,” he said. He accused the Congress government of attempting to stall development in Karnataka.

Later in the day, it was Rahul Gandhi’s turn to go ballistic. Rahul, who started his two-day campaigning at Ankola in Uttara Kannada district, launched a blistering attack on the PM and accused him of helping businessmen like Nirav Modi and Vijay Mallya and not farmers.

“I asked the Prime Minister to waive crop loan availed by farmers, he refused saying NDA has no such policy of loan waiver. But, Modi and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley are helping businessmen by writing off their loans in the name of NPA (non-performing assets),” he said. During the road show, Rahul was accompanied by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and other senior Congress leaders.

All through his speech, Rahul attacked Modi on several issues. “Modi speaks about corruption and announces tainted former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa as their CM candidate. Eight jailbirds who were charged in various cases were given tickets by the BJP to contest the election. Modi should clear his stand on corruption,” he demanded.

Not to be left behind, Siddaramaiah too joined his party president in attacking the BJP leaders. “BJP government in the state was the most corrupt one. They looted government money,” he said.
As Rahul continued his tirade, Modi took to Twitter to respond. “Congress knows it is not winning in Karnataka, which is why it is constantly spreading lies and playing divisive politics,” he tweeted.
His party leader Yeddyurappa, however, was more aggressive when he told reporters in Shivamogga; “Rahul Gandhi is a mad fellow. No need to give importance to his statements.’’


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