Congress accuses Amit Shah of ‘issuing threats’ over his ‘riots in Karnataka’ statement in election speech

Shah said that if the Congress came to power, dynastic politics would be at an all-time high and Karnataka would be afflicted with riots.

BySouth First Desk

Published Apr 26, 2023 | 1:15 PMUpdatedApr 26, 2023 | 1:15 PM

Jairam Ramesh, Amit Shah.

The Congress on Wednesday, 26 April, termed Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s remarks that Karnataka will be afflicted with riots if the grand old party comes to power as a “brazenly intimidatory statement”, and accused him of “issuing threats” during the election campaign.

Addressing a public meeting on Tuesday in Karnataka’s Belagavi district, Shah also said the development of the state will be in the “reverse gear” if the Congress forms the government.

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‘Karnataka will be afflicted with riots’

“If the Congress comes to power, dynastic politics will be at an all-time high and Karnataka will be afflicted with riots,” the home minister had said.

Hitting back at Shah, Congress general secretary in-charge communications Jairam Ramesh said, “This is a brazenly intimidating statement. The Union home minister, having allegiance to an organisation banned by India’s very first home minister, is now issuing threats during an election campaign when staring at certain defeat.”

“If the Congress comes to power by mistake then corruption will be all-time high and there will be ‘appeasement’,” said Shah, who is on a two-day tour of Karnataka to hold a series of public meetings, roadshows and review meetings with his party leaders.

Shah said the Congress will not benefit in any way from BJP’s two major leaders — former chief minister Jagadish Shettar and former deputy chief minister Laxman Savadi, who recently joined the Mallikarjun Kharge-led party.

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‘Congress insulted Lingayat community’

“Congress has always insulted the Lingayat community because in its long rule in the state, it could give only two Lingayat chief ministers — S Nijalingappa and Veerendra Patil — and both were humiliated and sacked from the party,” the senior BJP leader said.

Seeking votes based on those leaders who came from BJP showed how bankrupt the Congress is, Shah asserted.

He said the Congress aligned with the JD(S) to unseat then chief minister BS Yediyurappa.

“After unseating Yediyurappa using the JD(S), you want to move forward with the help of some of our leaders but the people of Karnataka, especially those from the ‘Kittur Karnataka’ region in the northern part of the state, will not tolerate it,” he said.

The Congress had slammed Shah on Tuesday as well over his reported remarks that the upcoming Karnataka polls are not just to elect MLAs but to entrust the future of the state in the hands of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The Opposition party had claimed that the comments were an “insult” to 6.5 crore Kannadigas.

In a tweet, Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said, “Home Minister says elections in Karnataka are to hand over future of the state to PM Modi. Last I checked, the election on 10 May is to elect MLAs and have a CM FOR the state.”

“HM’s confession shows their desperation. So much for cooperative federalism. This is an insult to 6.5 crore Kannadigas,” the former Union minister said.

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‘Home minister must apologise’

Tagging a video on Twitter of Shah’s remarks, the Congress said the home minister must apologise and alleged that he had not only insulted Karnataka’s identity but also the democratic values of India.

“It is shocking to know that the home minister of India dared to say that this election is not to choose MLAs but to hand over the future of Karnataka to the hands of Modi!” the Congress said in a lengthy Twitter post.

It also reflects the corrupt and dictatorial mindset of the BJP, it alleged.

“This is not the first case. The BJP high command has repeatedly hurt the sentiments of 6.5 crore Kannadigas. Earlier, JP Nadda had also made a similar undemocratic remark, saying Kannadigas will be devoid of Modi’s blessings if BJP doesn’t come to power,” the opposition party said.

“Already conceding its defeat, the 40 percent commission sarkar has resorted to threatening the voters. Come what may, the people of India will never allow anyone to pose a threat to the federal structure of our great nation,” the Congress said.

Earlier, the BJP came under fire from the Opposition after its national president JP Nadda claimed that the developments in Karnataka are because of the ‘blessings’ from Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

He also asked voters of the state to choose the BJP if they didn’t want to “lose out on Modi’s blessings”.

Nadda’s comments drew ire from the Opposition parties and civil society members in Karnataka alike for the purported insinuation.

(With PTI inputs)