Bharatiya Janata Party President Amit Shah on Saturday claimed that the people of Karnataka have made up their minds to “throw out” the Siddaramaiah government in the assembly polls slated for May 12, as they were “disappointed” with it on several fronts, especially corruption.
Shah, who is on a tour of Mysuru, Mandya and Ramanagara districts, said that his party would put up a good show during the polls in the old Mysuru region.
Electoral contest in old Mysuru region has been between the Congress and the Janata Dal-Secular which is led by former prime minister H D Deve Gowda. The BJP could not secure even a single seat in these districts in the previous polls.
Hassan, Chamarajnagar, Mysuru, Mandya and Ramanagara fall under old Mysuru region.
“The people of Karnataka have made up their minds to throw out the Siddaramaiah government. They are disappointed with it on many fronts, with corruption being the main issue. The relationship between corruption and Congress party is akin to water and fish,” Shah said.
“The Karnataka government is like an ATM for the Congress to indulge in corruption,” he said, and alleged that this relationship of corruption has only been expedited by the Siddaramaiah government.
Shah said the JD-S was not in a position to form a government because it can only win a few seats, and the BJP was the only party which can defeat the Congress.
Alleging that all parameters of development under the Siddaramaiah government were on the ebb, he said, “Though Bengaluru is mopping up revenue in good numbers, it is not percolating down to smaller cities and villages.”
On farmer suicide, the BJP president said, “As many as 3,500 farmers have committed suicide and Siddaramaiahji is terming these as minor incidents. In my political life, I have never come across such an irresponsible statement on farmers’ suicides.”
To a query, Shah said the Congress government in the state was raking up the issue of religious minority tag for Lingayats to prevent B S Yeddyurappa from becoming chief minister after the polls and for dividing the community.
Yeddyurappa is a Lingayat strongman and the BJP’s chief ministerial candidate for the coming Karnataka Assembly polls 2018.
“This is a nefarious strategy of the Siddaramaiah government for political gains. Had Siddaramaiahji been serious about giving minority status to Lingayats, he should have done it in the early stages of his five-year term. Why now, after four-and-a-half years?” Shah asked and claimed that the United Progressive Alliance government had rejected a similar proposal in 2013.
In a move with major electoral ramifications ahead of the assembly elections, the Karnataka Cabinet earlier this month decided to recommend to the Centre grant of religious minority tag to Lingayat and Veerashaiva Lingayat community, who follow the philosophy of 12th century social reformer Basaveshwara.
Asked about the Bharatiya Janata Party-led central government’s stand on the minority tag to Lingayats, Shah said, “We haven’t yet received the proposal in the administrative format. Why don’t you ask this state government why it has not sent it so far?”
BJP does not raise such emotional issues during elections as any comment on it highly impacts voters, he said adding that his party would make its stand on the matter known after the election.
Asked whether there would be the same strategy for Karnataka polls as was followed in the Assembly elections in the northeastern states, Shah said, “There are different strategies for different states. It depends on a particular state’s dynamics.”
“The win in Karnataka will open the gates for the BJP to make inroads in south India,” he said.