Attacking Bharatiya Janata Party and its PM candidate Narendra Modi, Congress President Sonia Gandhi on accused them of indulging in divisive politics by "sowing seeds of poison" (zeher ki kheti) and instigating violence.
"This is an area which was the 'karmabhoomi' of Sufi saints and a symbol of composite culture of the country. I firmly believe that you will not allow those who sow the seeds of poison, who don't believe in secular credentials and who play the politics of instigating violence to succeed," the UPA Chairperson said in her address at a public rally in northern Karnataka.
BJP and other opposition parties, she alleged, have only one motive and that is to hanker after the chair. "It is necessary for the people to be cautious about the opposition parties' plans to gain power by any means."
BJP reacted sharply to Gandhi's remarks, with party spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy saying that Congress will meet in 2014 the same fate as the drubbing it got in 2007 in Gujarat after her 'maut ka saudagar' (merchant of death) remarks against Narendra Modi.
In an apparent reference to Modi, Gandhi said "those who are busy beating their own drums continuously, I want to ask you whether they will do good to the nation. No, not at all. Their only aim is to capture power and to achieve it they will resort to all sorts of conspiracies. You have to wary of these people and understand their intentions."
Gandhi claimed Congress did not crave for power, but was concerned about the country and its people.
"We are also concerned about the removal of poverty and bringing self-respect to the poor. We are concerned about fostering brotherhood and maintaining peace in society. Therefore, we are in a position to speed up development."
She said Congress was engaged in fighting corruption and therefore the party brought into force the Right to Information Act and Lok Pal Act.
But, she claimed, opposition parties including BJP gave only empty promises and levelled false allegations.
Turning to Karnataka, she said because of the 'corrupt' previous BJP rule in the state, central schemes like MGNREGA did not reach the people. However, the present Congress government has been successful in implementing these schemes, she said.
Gandhi said there was no need for Congress to talk about corruption of opposition parties, as people had experienced it, especially during the BJP rule.
Gandhi said the BJP-led NDA government had rejected the state's demand to give special status to Hyderabad-Karnataka region, but the UPA had fulfilled the long cherished demand by conferring special status through an amendment to the Constitution.
The special status for the region, covering the districts of Bidar, Gulbarga, Yadgir, Raichur, Koppal and Bellary is expected to ensure speedy development of these backward areas.
"Congress is concerned about the bright future of the people of Hyderabad-Karnataka. You remember Rahulji (Gandhi) had promised and as per constitutional provisions we gave special status to Gulbarga, Yadgir, Raichur, Koppal, Bellary and Bidar districts in Hyderabad-Karnataka region," she said.
The UPA Chairperson earlier inaugurated the ESIC Medical College and buildings of ESIC Hospital, Dental College, and Nursing College constructed at a cost of Rs 893 crore.
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and Union Ministers Mallikarjun Kharge, who hails from Gulbarga district, Veerappa Moily, Oscar Fernandes, Rehman Khan and senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh, besides KPCC President G Parameshwara were present at the rally.