Training guns on the Congress over its president M Mallikarjun Kharge's 'venomous snake' barb at him, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said till now that party and its leaders have hurled at him different types of abuses 91 times.
Accusing the Congress of also abusing the dominant Lingayat community in poll-bound Karnataka, the prime minister further said the grand old party had even abused Babasaheb Ambedkar and were engaged in abusing Veer Savarkar.
Hitting out at the Congress, Modi -- on his first visit to the state for campaigning after elections were declared on March 29 -- said, people will respond to its abuses with votes, and as much mud they sling at the Bharatiya Janata Party, the lotus will bloom.
"The Congress hates everyone who speaks about the common man, who brings out their corruption, who attacks their politics of selfishness. Congress's hate against such people will become permanent. In this election too, the Congress once again has started abusing me," Modi said.
Addressing a public rally in Humnabad in Bidar district, he said, "Someone has made a list of such abuses against me and it has been sent to me. Till now, Congress people have abused me 91 times with different types. Had Congress people put efforts in good governance and boosting the morale of its workers, instead of wasting time on this dictionary of abuses, Congress would not have been in such a pathetic plight."
Making a speech in a campaign rally in poll bound Karnataka, which goes to polls on May 10, on Thursday Kharge likened Modi to a venomous snake.
As a row erupted, he later backtracked stating that his intention was not to hurt anyone's feelings and the 'statement was not for PM Modi, but for the ideology he represents'.
Modi said: "Insulting those who work for the poor and the country is Congress' history."
"I'm not the only one who has been attacked like this. Last election they ran a campaign 'chowkidar chor hai', then they said 'Modi chor', then they said 'OBC community are chor', and now just the election season has started in Karnataka they showed the guts of calling my Lingayat brothers and sisters chor."
"Congress people listen with open ears, whenever you have abused someone they have punished you in such a way that you have not been able to withstand it. This time Karnataka has decided to respond to the abuses, the pain inflicted to their pride, through votes," he said.
Noting that abuses are hurled at him by top Congress leaders, Modi said the Congress is a party that had abused Babasaheb Ambedkar too.
"Babasaheb Ambedkar himself had once said in detail that Congress abused him repeatedly. Congress had called Babasaheb Ambedkar 'rakshas', 'rashtra drohi', 'dagabaaz dost'...you will be shocked to hear. Even today we see how Congress abuses Veer Savarkar. Congress has abused stalwarts of this country," he said.
"Looking at this I feel that Congress respects me like they did to Babasaheb Ambedkar, Veer Savarkar, as Congress is abusing me in a similar way. I feel it as a gift to me. Let the Congress abuse me, I will continue to work for the country and its people. With your (people) blessings all their abuses will get mixed in mud. Congress people understand, as much mud you sling at us, the lotus will bloom," he added.
Appealing to people to bring in a stable, strong and full majority BJP government in Karnataka, Modi gave a new poll slogan for Karnataka 'Ee baariya nirdhara, Bahumatada BJP Sarkara' (This time the decision is, BJP government with a majority).
Karnataka needs a double engine BJP government, so that there is a coordination between the Centre and the state, there are no obstacles, infrastructure projects get completed at a fast pace, so that the confidence among foreign investors are strong, and also that Karnataka becomes growth engine of the country instead of becoming Congress' ATM, he said.
Suggesting that the Karnataka election is not merely for making a government for five years, but it is to make the state 'number one' in the country, the PM while listing various work under taken by BJP governments at both state and centre said, "To make Karnataka number one in the country, it is necessary for the double engine government to remain in the state. Double engine government means double benefit, double speed."
Accusing the Congress of dividing the country, and always indulging in appeasement politics, he said, Congress cannot understand the trouble of the poor as they haven't seen the poverty. "Congress is a party that does politics in development...it is full of negativity."
Highlighting that Bidar's 'Bidri' craft artist Shah Rasheed Ahmed Quadri was recently awarded with 'Padma Shri', Modi accused Congress of disappointing him for decades.
Quadri, who received Padma Shri from President Droupadi Murmu recently, had told Modi that he was wrong in believing that the BJP government would not honour him with the prestigious civilian award.
Stating that Karnataka has faced the consequences of unstable and coalition governments, the PM said, the focus of an unstable government would not be on serving people.
Reminding former Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy as the head of Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) coalition government had admitted that he was functioning at the mercy of Congress, he said, 'that fear of saving the seat or power, won't allow them to do anything for you'.
Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai and Union Minister Bhagawanth Khuba among others were present.