Bharatiya Janata Party president Amit Shah on Thursday hit out at the Siddaramaiah government, dubbing it “a corrupt, malicious and oppressive” regime and asked the people to “root it out” in the upcoming assembly polls.
Addressing a party rally in Karnataka, Shah accused the Congress of behaving like as it did during the Emergency.
He lashed out at the party for its “role” in supporting a statewide bandh on the state’s row with Goa on sharing Mahadayi river water.
Shah’s rally as part of the “Parivarthana Yatra” by the state BJP came amid the bandh called by pro-Kannada outfits seeking Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s intervention on the Mahadayi water sharing issue.
Pro-Kannada outfits have also called a Bengaluru Bandh on February 4, when Modi will be in the state to address a rally, with the BJP seeing the shutdown as a “politically motivated” move instigated by the ruling Congress to synchronise with the visits of the prime minister and BJP chief.
“Congress is even now behaving like it did during the emergency by deploying police to hold off supporters and by organising Mahadayi bandhs matching my and Prime Minister Narendra Modiji’s Parivartana Yatra address,” he said.
Shah said despite “desperate attempt” to disrupt the rally here by organising the bandh, “we have managed to hold it and been successful at it.”
“Siddaramaiah-led Congress also wants to disrupt Modi’s rally to be held on February 4,” he said.
The BJP chief said despite these obstructionist tactics, Congress party and Siddaramaiah would not be able to stop BJP from forming the government because people of Karnataka have decided on a change.
BJP sources claimed that Shah’s rally was attended by close to 50,000 people, ignoring the bandh call.
“Buses have been stopped, bandh has been called, efforts are on to stop Modi’s rally on February 4, but I have confidence in the people of this great Karnataka,” he said.
The number of people who will attend Modi’s rally on February 4 will make it clear BJP will win the election that will happen in April-May, Shah said.
“From this land of Mysuru, the land of goddess Chamundeshwari, my only appeal to the people of Karnataka is to root out corrupt, malicious and oppressive Siddaramaiah
government,” Shah said.
He also accused the Siddaramaiah government of indulging in “appeasement politics” for the sake of votes.
Shah said within four years, more than 20 activists of BJP and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh had been killed.
He asked as to why cases against Social Democratic Party of India, political arm of the Popular Front of India, which the party is holding responsible for the killings, were withdrawn.
“I want to ask Siddaramaiah whether he is certifying SDPI. Why were the cases withdrawn?” he asked.
“I want to tell Siddaramaiah government and all its associates that martyrdom of our 20 karyakartas will not go waste. When BJP government is formed wherever their killers are hiding we will find them and put them in jail,” Shah said.
The BJP chief said the Congress opposed the triple talaq bill due to “politics of appeasement.”
But the BJP and the prime minister are committed to passing this bill to do justice to Muslim sisters and mothers, he said.
He also slammed the Siddaramaiah government over its decision to celebrate the birth anniversary of 18th century Mysuru ruler Tipu Sultan.
“Many great personalities have spent their entire lives to make Karnataka great, I don’t want to take their names, but Siddaramaiah government and Rahul Gandhi’s Congress party never celebrates jayantis of such personalities, they only remember Tipu Sultan,” he said.
Taking on the Congress government on graft, he alleged that the Siddaramaiah government has crossed all boundaries of corruption.
“Does anyone of you here have a watch worth Rs 70 lakh on your wrist here? Your chief minister wears watches worth Rs 70 lakh,” he said.
Shah was apparently referring to the controversy in 2016 over Siddaramaiah wearing a luxury watch which Janata Dal-Secular leader H D Kumaraswamy had alleged was diamond-studded Hublot which was worth Rs 70 lakh.
Subsequently, Siddaramaiah declared it a state asset and handed it over to the government.
Shah said more than 3,500 farmers have committed suicide in the last five years in Karnataka.
The B S Yeddyurappa-led parivartan yatra has instilled fear in the hearts of Congress workers, he claimed.
“BJP has started the parivartana yatra for not only to change the government, but also to bring change in the lives of youth and to give security to the women of Karnataka,” he said.
Shah challenged Siddaramaiah to stop the BJP from forming the government in Karnataka using all his might.
Image: BJP chief Amit Shah being presented a memento by Karnataka BJP President BS Yeddyurappa at the party's Parivarthan rally in Mysuru. Photograph: PTI Photo