Bengaluru: Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sithraman, who cast her vote for Karnataka Assembly polls on Wednesday, expressed confidence about BJP coming back to power in the state with full majority and criticised the Congress over inflation during UPA rule.
On the issue of rising inflation, the Union minister said she and the BJP government stand with the people and want the prices to come down. Contending that the BJP government is making efforts to control price rise, she hit out at the Congress saying that it doesn’t have any right to criticise the Centre on the issue as inflation was constantly high during its tenure.
“You are watching for yourself the situation here, senior citizens, youth, women have come with families and are peacefully standing in queues to cast their votes, and looking at the way in which they interacted with me it is clear to me that BJP will come back victorious with full majority,” Sitharaman told reporters here after voting.
To a question on the foremost issues on her mind while voting as an elector, she said: “Good infrastructure, conducive environment for business and startups in Bengaluru and Karnataka in the future days. Also for farmers producing ‘Shree Anna’ (millets). I have voted for the BJP government here and in Delhi, which we call double-engine government.”
“From the way I see it, Bengaluru is coming out in a big number (to vote), I hope the number will be improved upon,” she said responding to a question on voter turnout concerns in Bengaluru.
Sitharaman, a Rajya Sabha member from Karnataka, cast her vote at Jayanagar Assembly segment here.
Responding to a question on price rise and inflation, Sitharaman pointed out that inflation had constantly been high during UPA rule.
“I’m not in the competition of comparison. But constantly from 2014 till today, the Modi government has taken several measures to control inflation. Even in Karnataka, CM Basavaraj Bomnmai reduced the excise rate on petrol twice,” she said, adding, “On the issue of inflation, I’m with people. Yes, it has to come down, but opposition has no right (to criticise), let them look at their tenure.”
The Union Minister, however, did not want to respond to a question on the number of seats the BJP is expected to win in this Assembly polls.
Stating that she and her party always pray to ‘Bajrangbali’ and chant ‘Hanuman Chalisa’, Sitharaman said Congress people become “election time bhakts of Lord Hanuman”.
“Karnataka is Hanuman ji land, this is the place of his birth. Coming here, you (Congress) are writing something in your manifesto. There is no bigger example of ‘bewakoofi’ (foolishness) than this,” she added.
The comments have come in the backdrop of controversy over the proposal in the Congress’ election manifesto on banning Bajrang Dal, a right-wing organisation.
Both BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi picked up the issue to portray the grand old party as being against Lord Anjaneya and the sentiments of Hindus, and raised ‘Jai Bajrangbali’ slogans repeatedly during the high decibel campaign.
Modi’s charisma works not only in Karnataka but across the country, the Finance Minister said, adding it is because people directly connect with the Prime Minister that they know he hears their voice and responds to them.
Voting began at 7 am across the state and it will end at 6 pm. The results for the election will be declared on May 13.