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Congress fumes as BJP's Kateel calls Rahul Gandhi 'drug addict and peddler'

Two major parties exchange barbs as bypoll heat rises; Grand old party questions JDS’ links with BJP 

Published: 20th October 2021 05:54 AM  |   Last Updated: 20th October 2021 05:54 AM   |  A+A-

AICC General Secretary Randeep Surjewala greets Leader of Opposition in the Assembly, Siddaramaiah, during the campaign in Balaganur village, Vijayapura district, on Tuesday, as senior leaders Mallika

By Express News Service

BENGALURU/VIJAYAPURA: Just a day after the Congress stoked a controversy with a tweet on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the political discourse in the state hit another low with BJP state president and MP Nalin Kumar Kateel calling Congress leader Rahul Gandhi a drug addict and peddler. He quickly went on to add, ‘’It’s not me, but media reports which are saying this.’’ He also questioned, “How can a man who cannot lead a party lead a country?”

While sources in the BJP claimed that Kateel’s statement was in response to a Congress tweet referring to the PM as ‘anghoota chhaap’ (illiterate) on Monday, state Congress president DK Shivakumar insisted that Kateel should apologise.

Taking strong exception, AICC General Secretary Randeep Surjewala termed the BJP as a party that is “drunk with power and drugged with arrogance”.Speaking to reporters during campaigning for party candidate Ashok Managuli in Balaganur village of Sindagi taluk on Tuesday, Surjewala said, “Perhaps Kateel might have consumed some drug seized from the Adani-owned port in Gujarat, which is why he is making such foolish and irresponsible statements.”

Sharpening in his attack on the BJP leader, Surjewala, who is the party in-charge of Karnataka, added, “Kateel has lost his mental balance and should be immediately admitted to a drug rehabilitation centre. These kinds of statements will only be made by someone who is intoxicated.”

Lashing out at Kateel, Congress legislature party leader Siddaramaiah said, “I demand BJP national president J P Nadda to admit Kateel to NIHMANS for making such irresponsible statements being the state president of the national political party. Kateel has lost his mental balance.” A host of other Congress leaders, including KPCC Working President Eshwar Khandre, said Kateel must be removed as BJP state president. Meanwhile, the Congress hurriedly got the two tweets attacking the PM removed.

Earlier in the day, addressing a public gathering, Surjewala described JDS as a B-team of the BJP. “The JDS has fielded candidates in the bypolls, not to win, but to defeat the Congress and help the BJP. Since JDS is there to help the BJP, the tickets of the party’s candidates are finalised at the BJP headquarters in Delhi,” he remarked.

Responding to JDS supremo HD Deve Gowda’s recent statement urging national parties like the Congress to take regional parties into confidence to fight the ruling BJP, Surjewala said, “Most regional parties are with the Congress. However, JDS is working only for the benefit of the BJP. The JDS must clear its stand, whether it is with the saffron party or with the nation.” He also criticised the BJP for the soaring prices of essentials across the country.

Opposition leader in the Rajya Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge, stated, “If Congress had not done anything for development of the country, neither Modi nor Shah would have been able to enjoy their Constitutional powers. Our leaders sacrificed their lives for the nation. But people support the BJP, who are looting the common people.”



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