During his visit to Karnataka on Saturday, 25 March, Prime Minister Narendra Modi raised the intensity of the BJP’s poll pitch going after AICC president Mallikarjun Kharge.
“The BJP has won mayor and deputy mayor polls of the Kalaburagi City Corporation on All India Congress Committee (AICC) chief Mallikarjun Kharge’s home turf. We managed to hoist the victory flag in the hometown of the Congress national president. It is an auspicious sign for the Vijaya Sankalpa Yatre,” Modi said in Davanagere.
The prime minister deemed it an indication of what is to come in the Karnataka Assembly elections in 2023. The Congress lost the mayoral polls despite being the single largest party in the corporation.
He was addressing a huge gathering during the culmination of the BJP’s Vijaya Sankalpa Yatre Mahasangama at Davanagere on Saturday, 25 March.
‘People want double-engine government’
The Vijaya Sankalpa Rath Yatre began earlier this month from four different directions across the state in specially-designed vehicles or “rathas”, and covered all 224 Assembly segments.
Before flying to Davanagere, he inaugurated the Sri Madhusudan Sai Institute of Medical Sciences and Research Centre at Chikkaballapura and a 13.71-km metro line between Whitefield and Krishnarajapuram in Bengaluru.
Modi said, “This Vijaya Sankalpa Yatre Mahasangam rally looks like a Vijay Mahotsav rally. Kalaburagi is the karmabhoomi (workplace) of Kharge. While this rally is going on, the BJP won the mayor and deputy mayor elections in Kalaburagi… The people of Karnataka have decided to bring back the double-engine government to power here.”
Though the Congress emerged as the single largest party in the Kalaburagi City Corporation polls in September 2021, the BJP won the mayor and deputy mayor polls by a mere one vote on Thursday.
Winning the mayoral elections
The BJP’s Vishan Dargi of ward number 46 and Shivanand Pisti of ward number 25 have been elected mayor and deputy mayor, respectively. They took charge on Friday, 24 March. The BJP came to power after 13 years in Kalaburagi.
The Congress is the single largest party with 27 seats, and followed by the BJP and the JD(S) with 23 and four seats, respectively. There are a total of 55 seats in the city corporation.
In the mayor and deputy mayor elections, even after the Congress took the support of JD(S) it couldn’t emerge victorious against the strategy of the BJP.
The ruling party reportedly added six MLCs to the local voters’ list. With the support of four MLAs and MLCs and one MP, the BJP won both the elections.
Modi appeals for full majority to BJP
The prime minister urged the people of Karnataka, where Assembly polls are due in April-May, to give the BJP a full majority for a stable and double-engine government.
Stressing the necessity of a double-engine government in Karnataka, Modi said, “The BJP wants to make the state a driving force of developed India, while the Congress looked at it as an ATM that fills the treasury of its leaders.”
Gratitude for the warm welcome. Only BJP can ensure all-round development of Karnataka. Watch from Davanagere. https://t.co/VJvgbmqD6k
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) March 25, 2023
He continued: “Karnataka has seen a long period of opportunistic and selfish coalition governments. Karnataka has faced losses due to such governments. So, for fast-paced development of Karnataka, the BJP’s full majority and a stable government are needed.”
“When no one gets full majority, will Karnataka be in bad shape or not? Do you want a strong and stable government or not? Do you want a government with full majority or not?” Modi asked the people gathered at Davanagere.
Modi takes a dig at Congress
Accusing the Congress of making fake promises or guarantees to the people during the polls, Modi said, “Congress leaders have been wandering with a bag of false guarantees ahead of elections.”
“The Congress had made many promises ahead of polls in Himachal Pradesh but did not find mention in their recent budget there. Can we trust Congress that makes false promises?” charged Modi. He also alleged that the grand old party does not have a positive agenda for the country and Karnataka.
“Should they be allowed to place a step inside Karnataka or should they be thrown out? People should be cautious and not give them an opportunity to play their game in Karnataka,” Modi appealed to people not to vote for Congress in the coming polls.
Modi hits out at Siddaramaiah
While addressing the gathering at Davanagere, Modi hit out at Congress Legislative Party (CLP) leader Siddaramaiah (without taking his name) for slapping party workers at Bengaluru recently.
“A video of an Opposition leader (referring to Siddaramaiah) hitting a party worker reached me. If a leader is showing disrespect to his own party workers, then how will he do the service of the public?” questioned Modi.
Siddarmaiah had reportedly slapped one of the party workers for trying to approach him in the huge crowd at his residence in Bengaluru on 24 March.
Metro line inaugurated
The prime minister inaugurated the 13.71-km Whitefield (Kadugodi) to Krishnarajapuram metro line which comprises 12 stations. The estimated project cost stands at ₹4,249 crore.
After the inauguration, Modi took the first ticket at the Satya Sai hospital metro and travelled to Whitefield.
During his brief journey in the newly inaugurated metro line, he interacted with the metro workers, government school children, and other workers.
Governor Thawar Chand Gehlot, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, Minister for Revenue R Ashok, and others accompanied the prime minister while he was travelling in the metro.
— PMO India (@PMOIndia) March 25, 2023
“This section is the eastern extension to the operational East-West Corridor (Purple Line) from Baiyappanahalli to Whitefield station,” said officials.
Out of the 15.81 km extension under construction, the 13.71 km section from KR Puram to Whitefield was inaugurated on Saturday. “It would cut down journey time on this route by 40 percent and reduce road traffic congestion,” added officials.
The new line of Bengaluru Metro is beneficial for five to six lakh Bengalurians serving in information technology parks, export promotion industrial areas, malls, hospitals, and several Fortune 500 companies, it was noted.
Officials said this route would be operated with five trains, each with six coaches bought from BEML Limited, adding that more trains would be kept as backup.
‘Political parties played game over languages’
Lashing out at political parties in Chikkaballapura, Modi said, “The political parties played a ‘game’ over languages without doing enough to support them, and they did not want students from villages, poor, and those from backward class families to become doctors or engineers.”
Pointing out at the challenges faced by youth from villages and poor families to join the medical profession, Modi said, “Understanding the difficulty, the BJP government headed by me has given an option of learning medical education in Indian languages including Kannada.”
“I want to mention before you a challenge that is there before the medical profession. Because of this challenge, it was difficult for youth from villages, belonging to poor and backward classes to become doctors,” Modi said after inaugurating the Sri Madhusudan Sai Institute of Medical Sciences and Research (SMSIMSR).
“Kannada is a prosperous language, it is a language that increases the pride of the country. Earlier governments did not take steps towards teaching medical, engineering and technical education in Kannada too,” Modi said and added, “While our government, which works for the welfare of the poor, has given an option of medical education in Indian languages including Kannada.”
He also highlighted various health-related initiatives taken by his government.
Ironically, in his speech, Modi spoke about the importance of regional language and delivered a speech in Hindi but there was no translator (in Kannada) at Chikkaballapura or Davanagere.