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Published On: Tue, May 1st, 2018

Modi attacks Rahul , showers praise on former PM Deve Gawda

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pm-modi-hd-deve-gowda_650x400_41524635072BANGALURU :  Even as the BJP has declared that it will need no leg up to form the government in Karnataka, Prime Minister Narendra Modi may just have alluded to a Plan B today with generous praise for HD Deve Gowda, whose party, many believe, will decide whether the Congress retains the southern state – or loses it to the BJP.
“You disrespect Deve Gowda even though you are a novice and he is a veteran” the Prime Minister said at one of his three rallies in Karnataka today.Opinion polls claim that voting on May 12 will conclude with no party getting a simple majority – and Mr Gowda’s Janata Dal Secular or JDS will therefore be the decision-maker.

In March, Mr Gandhi accused Mr Gowda of being a proxy – “the B-team” –  for the BJP and urged voters to spurn the JDS. Launching his election campaign in Karnataka, Prime Minister Narendra Modi accused the Congress of being obsessed with “politics of dynasty” and dared party chief Rahul Gandhi to speak for 15 minutes on the achievements of the Siddaramaiah government without a piece of paper.
Addressing election meetings, he also charged the Congress with blocking development and blamed it for political violence that led to the death of several RSS and BJP cadres in the state. The Prime Minister’s attack came in the wake of Rahul Gandhi’s challenge last week that if he was allowed to speak for 15 minutes in Parliament, Modi would not be able to withstand it.
Modi took a dig at Rahul Gandhi saying: “He is correct. There is no way ordinary people like me, who do not even dress well, can sit with such high and mighty people like the Congress President.” But immediately he changed gear and launched a blistering attack on Rahul Gandhi.
“The Congress President is a ‘naamdaar’. So how does he know about the efforts of ‘kaamdaars’. We are kaamdaars (known by our work). What is our level that we can sit with people like the Congress President who look down upon us,” he asked. Challenging Rahul Gandhi to speak for 15 minutes on the achievements of the Siddaramaiah government “without reading from any piece of paper”, he said.
“You can speak in Hindi, English or your mother’s mother tongue (Italian).” He also challenged Rahul Gandhi to take Visveswaraya’s name five times in the 15-minute speech. “That is enough. The people of Karnataka will measure the strength of your words.”

Law and order in Karnataka has collapsed under Congress rule, Modi said. “When the Lokayukta in the state is not safe, how can one expect the common people to be safe under the Congress government?”.
Polling for the 224-member Karnataka Assembly will be held on May 12 and the results would be declared on the 15th of the month.

The Congress and Mr Gowda have a heavily scratched record. In 2005, Mr Siddaramaiah, then considered Mr Gowda’s protege, exited the JDS after the senior leader moved his son, HD Kumaraswamy, to pole position.
Mr Kumaraswamy would go on to bring down Karnataka’s first coalition government – the JDS and the Congress – and became Chief Minister with the BJP as his new team-mate. Mr Siddaramaiah joined the Congress, meanwhile, and was elected Chief Minister five years ago.

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