Cong spreading 'lies', dividing society: Modi tells K'taka BJP
Bengaluru: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday accused the Congress of spreading "lies and false" propaganda, and dividing society along caste lines, as he sounded the bugle for the bitterly contested Karnataka Assembly polls.
He also asserted the development of the state was his party's only agenda.
"BJP has a three-pronged agenda for Karnataka-- development, fast paced development, all round development," he told party leaders, office bearers and elected representatives through his mobile app.
"Our agenda is vikas, vikas, vikas (development, development and development)," he said.
Claiming that electors have resolved to usher in a change of government in the Congress-ruled state, he said those who wished that party well had started a debate about a hung Assembly.
He said such "false" propaganda was spread even before the last Lok Sabha poll which the BJP won with an absolute majority.
"A government with absolute majority is needed to change Karnataka's destiny. India is shining in the world today only because we have a government which has a complete majority at the Centre after 30 years," he said, and asked BJP workers to endeavour to achieve that goal in the only big state the Congress still rules apart from Punjab.
Apparently referring to pre-poll surveys, the prime minister said "false propaganda" about a fractured mandate, with BJP as the single largest party, was being spread as part of a "conspiracy".
These surveys have projected a cliffhanger of a contest in the only southern state where the BJP had its government once. They said the JD(S) of former prime minister H D Deve Gowda would play the role of a kingmaker after the polls. Rattling off figures about development work undertaken by the Centre in the state, he accused the Siddaramaiah government of stalling its progress, and spreading "falsehood".
"So, you will have to fight against lies, false propaganda. As part of a conspiracy, efforts will be made to mislead you by hiring foreign agencies. Karyakartas (party workers) should not be shaken, their trust should not be shaken," he said.
Modi was apparently referring to the Cambridge Analytica controversy over alleged attempts by the Congress to use the data firm to influence the outcome of elections in India.
"The Congress, after repeated defeat in elections, is spreading lies. Earlier, out of 50 things they said there were 5-10 lies. Now, out of the 50 things they say, 40-45 are lies and the rest five would also lack clarity," he said.
The prime minister said there was a need to cleanse Indian politics of Congress culture. "The mainstream of India's political culture is associated with Congress' misdeeds. Unless we liberate this mainstream from Congress culture, we cannot cleanse Indian politics," he said.
Without naming the Lingayats, the prime minister accused the Congress government of doing caste politics.
"When elections come, these clever people (the Congress) offer lollipops to a caste group so they get busy with it and vote on emotion.
"When the next election comes, they leave that community and get hold of another caste group or community and give them a new lollipop. They keep changing and giving new lollipops every time and run their politics without any accountability," he said.
The Siddaramaiah government recently recommended religious minority status for the Lingayat and its sub-group Veershaiva Lingayat community. The move is seen as an attempt to divide the Lingayats, the bedrock of the BJP's voter base in the state.
Seeking to strike a chord with BJP workers on the ground, Modi said, like them, he was also a "karyakarta".
"Like you, I am also a karyakarta (worker) from Karnataka. Believe this and move ahead. I am also a Kannadiga.
Believe this and move ahead. I will work with you shoulder to shoulder," he said.
Modi began the interaction with opening remarks in Kannada where he welcomed the BJP leaders and workers. He was apologetic about not being able to learn Kannada language despite wanting so. "I'm sorry, despite having interest I could not learn Kannada," he said.
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