BJP national president Amit Shah on Thursday addressed a press conference moments before the electioneering closed for the 12 May Assembly polls in Karnataka. From lashing out at the Congress government in Karnataka, citing facts on governance in the state, to subtly targeting Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, Shah made the most of the last opportunity to reach out to the voters in the state.
Answering media queries about his much fabled poll-prediction before each electoral battles, Shah said that he was confident that his party would score well over 130 seats, comfortably ahead of the 112-half-way-mark. He ruled out any possibility of an alliance with former prime minister HD Devegowda-led Janata Dal (Secular), which the Congress has accused of playing second fiddle to the BJP. Here are the key highlights from his press conference.
1) Congress conniving with traitor SDPI, PFI in desperation to win polls: Shah came down heavily on Congress, for what he said exposed its divisive politics. He cited some sting operations reported by local media to allege that Congress candidates were caught meeting representatives from Social Democratic Party of India, the political wing of the Popular Front of India, to devise startegy to polarise anti-Hindu votes. He said that the one difference between Congress and BJP's respective ideologies is that the latter will lose elections but won't sit with SDPI and PFI.
2) Gali Janardhan Reddy has nothing to do with BJP: On questions relating to the BJP's decision to give tickets to the Reddy brothers, despite G Janardhan Reddy being in jail for corruption charges, Shah asserted that there was nothing wrong in it. "The two members of the family, whom we have given tickets, are not charged with any corruption scandal. That's it," Shah said. He further asserted that mining baron Janardhana Reddy has nothing do with BJP, and that "it is final."
3) Siddaramaiah government most unsuccessful since Independence: Labelling the Siddaramaiah government in Karnataka "sabse vifal sarkar" since Independence, Shah cited figures to claim that the state failed to use massive funds allotted by the Centre. "They say Centre has not done us any favour by granting funds. I agree to that. We have not done anybody a favour and given the people of Karnataka their rights, but what have you done by not using the funds properly. You (Congress) have done the work of taking away the rights of the people," Shah said.
4) Separate religion status for Lingayats a non-issue this election: "The agenda in this election is development, governance and the politics of performance," Shah said on a query about Lingayats. When a reporter asked him to specify if his party faced any losses due to Siddaramaiah hitchhiking Lingayat votes by recommending separate religion for them, Shah quipped back saying that the only loss was that he had to face such as a question. "It is a non-issue," he said.
5) Development in Karnataka stuck like Bengaluru's traffic: Shah, commenting on the outcome of his long-drawn election campaign, said that the people's anger was perceptible throughout the state. He claimed that the development in the state was stuck like the traffic in Bengaluru. He said that the law and order has taken a toll under Congress rule, as he claimed that more than 24 workers of BJP and RSS were brutally killed. Hitting out on Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, Shah said that when a government fails like this, only then a chief minister has to leave his home seat and look for safe seats to fight elections.
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