Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s appeal against corruption in Karnataka grabbed eyeballs, but for reasons that the BJP didn’t anticipate.
“My appeal is to place your trust on Modiji and Yediyurappaji. We will provide such a government in Karnataka that it will be corruption-free in the next five years and become the number one state in the South,” Shah told the crowd at a party event in Ballari, urging people to support the BJP in the 2023 Karnataka Assembly polls.
Shah’s appeal would have been just right — had the BJP not been in power in Karnataka.
Opposition leaders and netizens were quick to point out that Shah had inadvertently acknowledged that corruption was rampant in Karnataka under the ruling BJP government.
Shah’s statement came in the backdrop of the Basavaraj Bommai government already facing severe flak over allegations of corruption and Opposition parties’ consistent narrative deeming the BJP government a “40% commission” government.
Sri @AmitShah has forgotten that it is #DoubleEngine Govt that is running in Karnataka?
He is agreeing that his Govt is #40Percentsarkara & the CM & his Cabinet have no credibility left to ask for people for their vote.
Even PM Modi’s name won’t rescue BJP here in elections. pic.twitter.com/ALeBMTzHgb
— Priyank Kharge / ಪ್ರಿಯಾಂಕ್ ಖರ್ಗೆ (@PriyankKharge) February 23, 2023
Modi-BSY, but no Bommai
Interestingly, Shah sought the people trust in the name of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and former state chief minister BS Yediyurappa. leaving out Chief Minister Bommai — the man handpicked by the central leadership of the BJP to replace Yediyurappa when he was ousted in 2021 after two years in office.
Shah was addressing the people during the Vijay Sankalpa Samavesha held at the erstwhile Sandur constituency, which is a Scheduled Tribe (ST) reserve Assembly seat and currently represented by Congress MLA E Tukaram, in Ballari district.
Thursday’s event was Amit Shah’s first poll campaign in the Kalyana Karnataka region. He has, since January, campaigned in Vokkaliga-dominated Mandya, Billava-Ediga-dominated Udupi, and Lingayat-dominant Hubballi and Belagavi.
“In the 2018 Assembly election, the BJP had emerged as the single largest party but fell short of a few seats to form a government. This led to a power play between Congress and the JD(S) and corruption in Karnataka.”
“Both Congress and the JD(S) are dynastic parties. The dynastic parties will neither do good for people nor for the country,” Shah said, taking a dig at the 2018 Congress-JD(S) alliance government.
Congress will use Karnataka as ATM: Shah
While addressing the people in Sandur, Shah appealed to people not to vote for Congress in order to prevent the grand old party leaders from turning Karnataka into the party’s “ATM”.
“I want to tell the people of Karnataka that every vote to the JD(S) will go to the Congress and every vote to Congress will eventually go to Siddaramaiah and his ATM government, which was the ATM of Delhi and indulged in rampant corruption,” Shah said, asking people not to vote for either the JD(S) or the Congress.
Every vote cast in favour of the JD(S) will help Congress and every vote cast in favour of Congress will make Karnataka an ATM of Delhi high-command.
ಜೆಡಿಎಸ್ಗೆ ನೀಡಿದ ಪ್ರತಿಯೊಂದು ಮತವು ಕರ್ನಾಟಕವನ್ನು ದೆಹಲಿಯ ಎಟಿಎಂ ಆಗಿ ಪರಿವರ್ತಿಸುವ ಕಾಂಗ್ರೆಸ್ ಪಕ್ಷಕ್ಕೆ ಹೋಗುತ್ತದೆ. pic.twitter.com/AuvjHwrnqy
— Amit Shah (@AmitShah) February 23, 2023
Infighting in Congress
Taking a dig at the alleged power tussle between CLP leader Siddaramaiah and KPCC president DK Shivakumar over the chief minister’s post, Shah said that both the leaders won’t do any good to the people of Karnataka.
“There is only one post of chief minister, for which both Congress state president DK Shivakumar and former chief minister Siddaramaiah are fighting. There are other aspirants too in the race (in Congress). They will not do good for the people of Karnataka,” charged Shah.
“If the people want to do ‘Kalyan’ (good) to the Kalyana Karnataka region, they should bring the BJP back to power in the state,” Shah said as he appealed to the people to ensure the party’s victory in all the 10 Assembly segments of united Ballari, which includes five Assembly segments of Vijayanagara district.
Modi vs Rahul Gandhi
Cautioning people against the “divisive politics of the Congress”, Shah said: “Only Modi can protect India and make the country prosperous. On one hand there is PM Modi-led BJP strengthening India, and on the other hand there is Kerala’s Wayanad MP Rahul Gandhi-led Congress linked with ‘Tukde-Tukde’ gang. You have to make a choice between the two.”
Shah also accused Congress of withdrawing 1,700 cases against the Popular Front of India.
“The Congress was stalling the Ram Temple in Ayodhya for years, but once Narendra Modi became prime minister, he laid the foundation of a grand Ram temple which is under construction,” Shah said, blaming the Opposition for the delay in building a Rama temple at Ayodhya.
BJP Parliamentary Board member BS Yediyurappa, minister B Sriramulu, BJP state president Nalin Kumar Kateel and other leaders of Kalyana Karnataka were present at the event.