In poll-bound Karnataka, PM Narendra Modi invokes ‘The Kerala Story’ to talk terrorism

Modi endorsed "The Kerala Story" even as the movie's makers told Kerala HC they would remove claims of "32,000 women were recruited to ISIS".

ByAnusha Ravi Sood

Published May 05, 2023 | 9:09 PMUpdated May 07, 2023 | 6:20 PM

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be addressing a public meeting during his visit to Telangana. (BJP4Karnataka/Twitter)

With polling day barely five days away for the Karnataka Assembly elections, Prime Minister Narendra Modi broke away from his “development” pitch and spoke on terrorism in Ballari on Friday, 5 May.

Modi’s rallies in Karnataka have centred around the “double-engine government” pitch and highlighting his own Union government’s schemes before he invoked alleged abuses by Congress and eventually moved on to “Bajrang Bali” chants.

On Friday, Modi showed a clear shift in strategies and centred his speech on terrorism.

The focus of his speech on terrorism remained the controversial movie that was released on Friday: The Kerala Story.

Even as the movie’s makers told the Kerala High Court on Friday that they would remove the claims that “32,000 women from Kerala” were recruited to the Islamic State group, Modi endorsed the movie that is accused of being a propaganda tool to defame Kerala and vilify interfaith marriages.

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Modi invokes The Kerala Story

The Kerala Story became ammunition for PM Narendra Modi to mount attacks on the Congress as he accused the rival political party of “nurturing, giving shelter, and surrendering before terror for the sake of vote-bank politics”.

He said the movie was said to be a work based on the terrorists’ deceitful policies and conspiracies in just one state, and accused the Congress of indulging in backdoor political bargaining with people having terror inclinations.

The attack on the Congress with “terrorism” as a stick came after the party’s manifesto put the now-banned outfit PFI and RSS-affiliate Bajrang Dal in the same box and called for a ban on it.

Modi also tried to raise a “law and order” bogey with The Kerala Story and terrorism pitch in tow.

“To make Karnataka the number one state in the country, law and order is important. Karnataka remaining free from terror is equally important. The BJP has always been harsh against terror. But whenever action is taken against terror, the Congress gets a stomachache,” Modi said.

Addressing a public meeting in Ballari on Friday ahead of the 10 May Assembly polls in the state, Modi said the whole world was worried about the dangers of terror, and that India, too, had suffered due to it on several occasions.

The country lost a large number of innocent civilians to terror attacks, he said.

“Terrorism is anti-humanity, anti-human values, and anti-development. I am surprised that for the sake of its vote bank, the Congress has surrendered before terror. Can such a party protect Karnataka and its civilians in any way? Under the climate of terror, the industries here, the IT industry, farmers, and rich culture and heritage here will be destroyed, ” said Modi.

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‘Karnataka should be cautious about Congress’

Claiming that the Congress had lost the courage to speak against terror, Modi alleged that the party nurtured and sheltered terror for the sake of vote-bank politics.

“With changing times, the nature of terror is also changing. Whether smuggling or drug trade or communal frenzy, all are somehow connected to terror,” he said.

Highlighting that in the last few years, another dangerous form of terror has emerged, Modi said, the sound of bombs and guns could at least be heard, but there would not be any sound to the terror conspiracy of “hallowing the society”.

Even courts expressed worry about terrors of this nature, he said.

The film made on such a terror conspiracy, The Kerala Story, was under discussion.

“It is said the film is based on the terrorists’ deceitful policies and conspiracies in just one state,” Modi said.

“Such a beautiful state of the country, where people are hardworking and talented. This Kerala Story film brings out terror conspiracies happening in that state,” he said.

“It is unfortunate that the Congress can be seen standing with this terror trend that is seeking to ruin the country. The Congress is even indulging in backdoor political bargaining with people having terror inclinations. The people of Karnataka should be cautious about the Congress,” the prime minister added.

Related: Censor Board gives ‘A’ nod to ‘The Kerala Story’, with cuts

(With PTI inputs)