Karnataka Kurukshetra 2018: Modi asks party nominees to fight on development plank


Bengaluru: Speaking to candidates of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for the upcoming Karnataka assembly elections, Prime Minister Narendra Modi pressed that development should be the only agenda.

Drawing comparisons between four years of development projects under the Congress-led UPA government and BJP-led NDA government, PM Modi claimed that his government had worked efficiently for the development of Karnataka.

“There is only a three-pronged agenda for Karnataka- development, fast-paced development and all-round development,” PM Modi told his partymen in his live video interaction.

While BJP leaders in Karnataka have unabashedly pushed Hindutva as a primary agenda, PM Modi reiterated that development should be the only agenda along with winning the voters. Modi accused other governments of dividing the people along caste, religion, creed lines to divert attention from “tangible development”.

“Can anyone deny that Congress’ culture spoiled the country? The system cannot be cleaned until we unroot Congress culture from mainstream politics in India,’ Modi said.

Playing to the Kannada sentiment agenda, Modi began his welcome address in Kannada and called himself a Kannadiga in the course of the interaction. “I am a Kannadiga too. I appeal to all our workers to dedicate themselves for the polls. I will also consider myself a Karnataka worker and work for the development of the state,” he said.

PM Modi took three questions from MLA candidates- Sunil Kumar, Shahikala Jolle and Suresh Kumar. When Sunil Kumar- an RSS leader turned politician greeted PM Modi with traditional RSS line of ‘Hari Om’, Modi refused to greet back in the same line but only asked the legislator to proceed with his question.

PM Modi presented numbers to justify his government’s claims of working towards the development of Karnataka. “Under four years of UPA government only Rs 8,700 crore was utilised to build 950 kms of road in Karnataka but under the four years of our government Rs 27,000 crore worth roads of 1,750 kms have been laid. This is called development,” he said. He also drew comparisons on Urban infrastructure, Renewable power capacity, LPG connections and toilet construction. “We have added 7800 MW renewable power. 4,800 MW through solar energy. Didn’t the sun rise in Karnataka before Modi government? They (Congress) were busy in caste politics and refused to utilise solar energy. Negligence is Congress’ trait,” he attacked.

PM Modi accused the Congress of attempting to stall development in Karnataka. Crediting booth level workers for BJP’s massive organisational strength, PM Modi appealed to workers to reach out to every single voter and not pay heed to “conspiratory ideas of hung assembly”.

“We are not working to win the assembly election neither do we want to win MLA seat. We need to win booths. Those who win booth will win the battle,” PM told Sunil Kumar, BJP candidate for Karkala.

While PM refused to speak about farm loan waiver from nationalised banks to Karnataka farmers when MLA candidate Shashikala Jolle asked about farmer welfare, he assured that his government had a plan in place for the farming community. Solar pumps, the PM said, was the next aim to reduce agricultural costs along with better implemented MSP, Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bhima Yojana and a push for fisheries. “We want a blue revolution to change the lives of our fishermen. Seaweed farming to help pharmaceuticals and fertilizers will be implemented,” he said. The push for fisheries comes in the backdrop of Karnataka’s 300 km underutilised coastline and its influential fishing communities vying for government’s attention.

Speaking about Bengaluru’s infrastructure in response to Suresh Kumar, Rajajinagar constituency candidate, PM said that his government was committed to build the image of Bengaluru as a global city and counter civic issues plaguing the city.