Karnataka: Congress announces statewide bus tour Prajadhwani with a charge sheet against BJP

ByMahesh M Goudar

Published Jan 10, 2023 | 8:00 PMUpdatedJan 10, 2023 | 8:00 PM

Karnataka: Congress announces statewide bus tour Prajadhwani with a charge sheet against BJP

Unveiling the logo for its two-month-long bus yatra — Prajadhwani — leaders of Karnataka’s Congress on Tuesday, 10 January, released a list of alleged instances of corruption and scams under the ruling BJP government.

The statewide bus yatra, scheduled to begin on Wednesday, will mark the official beginning of Congress’ Assembly election campaign.

While BJP and JDS are already on their statewide yatras — Jana Sankalpa Yatra and Pancharathna Yatra, respectively — the Congress is the late entrant into the poll tour bandwagon.

Before unveiling the logo, Congress Legislative Party (CLP) leader Siddaramaiah and KPCC president DK Shivakumar offered prayers to the bus, the vehicle to be used for campaigning, at the party head office in Bengaluru.

Congress ‘charge sheet’

On the occasion, the Congress released a document tiled “BJP Paapada Purana” — a list of alleged irregularities, scams and instances of corruption during the Basavaraj Bommai-led BJP government rule in the state.

The list included allegations of 40 percent commission demand from mutts, contractors and education institutions, failing to fulfil 90 percent of its manifesto promises, a 100 percent increase in the state’s debt, the dropping out from school of 10.12 lakh children, increasing farmer deaths, and and Covid mismanagement.

Shivakumar said: “BJP had managed to win 104 Assembly seats in 2018. People did not give mandate to them (BJP), but by carrying out unconstitutional ‘Operation Lotus’, they came to power. BJP had made a whopping 600 promises in its 2018 manifesto but managed to fulfil barely 50 promises in its three-and-half-year tenure.”

“We had asked several questions to the government on its poor governance but did not receive any reply. Around two lakh youths have raised voices against corruption and unemployment in the state. Even they did not get any reply from the government.”

“Contractors have levelled serious allegations against the BJP government, that of demanding 40 percent commission in government projects. The government did not give proper reply to the allegations,” pointed out Shivakumar.

He added: “People from all the religions and communities are living in fear in BJP’s regime. Over 80,000 people have lost jobs in the private sector and 158 companies have been shut. The companies are hesitating to invest in Karnataka and are moving to neighbouring states.”

Focus on finances

Taking dig at the BJP government, Siddaramaiah said: “BJP came to power unethically. Corruption is at its peak in the Bommai government. When BS Yediyurappa was at helm, the government indulged in corruption during Covid-19. The government is least bothered to respond to our allegations.”

“Over 3.5 lakh people succumbed due to Covid. The government had promised that it would give compensation to the victims’ families, but did not. Bommai is the weakest chief minister – Karnataka has ever witnessed,” charged Siddaramaiah.

“The 15th Finance Commission report had recommended to the Union government to give ₹5,495 crore to Karnataka. Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who represents Bengaluru in the Rajya Sabha, wrote a letter to the commission’s head, asking him to withdraw the recommendations.”

“The people of Karnataka have elected 25 BJP MPs and the BJP is in power in the state, but none of them dared to question the Union government for not providing the state’s share. Over ₹3.5 lakh crore tax per annum is being generated from Karnataka,” he said.

“But Karnataka gets a meagre share when compared to other states. This is one of the main reasons that the state government is forced to take loans. In the last five years, Karnataka’s debt has doubled, where the current loan stands at ₹5.45 lakh crore,” Siddaramaiah said about the financial condition of the state government.

“There is a debt of ₹86,000 on each Kannadiga. Every year the government has to pay around ₹43,000 crore to the lender or banks. If the state has to be protected from maladministration, corruption and scams, the Congress has to come back to power,” affirmed Siddaramaiah.

Prajadhwani Yatre

The Congress is all set to kick-start its Prajadhwani Yatre from Belagavi on 11 January. This will also be the party’s first leg of the campaig for the upcoming Assembly polls. In the first phase, the yatre will be jointly led by Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar.

Prajadhwani Yatre will cover all 224 Assembly segments in Karnataka.

In the second leg, a team led by Siddaramaiah will tour most of the Assembly segments in North Karnataka, while another team led by Shivakumar will campaign in most Assembly constituencies in South Karnataka.

In the third leg, Siddaramaiah will campaign in South Karnataka and Shivakumar in North Karnataka.

“The Prajadhwani Yatre is being held to present the people about the scandals and corruption reported in the BJP government and also ensure that Congress will bring changes in the administration,” Shivakumar told reporters.

“Along with presenting the irregularities of the BJP government before the people, we will win their hearts. Keeping in mind the emotions of the people, we are putting a first step forward by launching this yatre,” Shivakumar said.

“I appeal to all the people to join hands with us (Congress) to bring change in Karnataka” ‘Join hands for the better Karnataka’. We have also set up a website (www.prajadhwani.com), where we will be collecting information about the aspirations of the people.”

“Siddaramaiah and I will be jointly touring 20 districts. It will start from Belagavi on January 11 and conclude at Bidar on January 28.

“We decided to start from Belagavi because it is in the place where Mahatma Gandhi became president of Congress in 1924. We will offer prayers to Gandhi before kick-starting the yatre. Then we will head to Chikkodi.”

On the tentative candidates list, Shivakumar said: “Discussions are underway. The committees have submitted their reports. There is another meeting on the Sankranthi. We will release the candidates list at the earliest.”

KPCC working presidents Ramlinga Reddy and Saleem Ahmed, KPCC communications chairman and MLA Priyank Kharge, and other leaders of the party were present at the event.