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Congress and corruption are related like fish and water, says Amit Shah

As the BJP ramps up its campaign to regain power in the only southern state it ever ruled, it chief Amit Shah says the Karnataka government is an ATM of corruption for the Congress.

india Updated: Apr 01, 2018 07:32 IST
Vikram Gopal
Vikram Gopal
Hindustan Times, Bengaluru
BJP,Amit Shah,Karnataka assembly polls
Bharatiya Janata Party president Amit Shah joins the party's statewide door-to-door campaign in Chinnenahalli village in Mandya on Saturday. (PTI)

In his fourth round of visit to the poll-bound Karnataka, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah on Saturday claimed that the Siddaramaiah government will be thrown out in the May 12 Assembly polls , mainly because of corruption.

“I have toured almost across the entire state and I can see that the people have decided to throw out the Siddaramaiah government,” Shah said at press conference in Mysuru even as the Congress debunked his claim saying people know that BJP’s chief ministerial candidate BS Yeddyurappa had led the most corrupt government in the state.

“The most important issue is corruption. Congress and corruption are related like fish and water. This relationship has been promoted very well by Siddaramaiah. There is a whirlwind of corruption under Siddaramaiah, which will become a tsunami if this government is voted back to power,” the BJP president said.

Shah said the state government had failed on all indicators of human development and had been the worst in the country in terms of utilising central funds. “Despite Karnataka being the information technology hub and accruing the benefits that come from this, nothing has percolated to the bottom,” he said.

In a no-holds barred attack, Shah described the Karnataka government as “an ATM of corruption for the Congress”. He also insisted that the Janata Dal (Secular) would not be able to address this situation as it was only limited to a few seats. “There is only one organisation that can bring about change and that is the BJP under the leadership of (BJP’s chief ministerial candidate) BS Yeddyurappa.”

Earlier this week, Shah made a faux pas at Davangere saying that the “BS Yeddyurappa government was the most corrupt”, a mistake he quickly corrected. But the Congress had quickly latched onto it to mock Shah, saying that the BJP president was “speaking the truth”.

The BJP president also criticised chief minister Siddaramaiah of not being able to address the woes of the Other Backward Classes. “I want to ask Siddaramaiah, who keeps saying that he is an OBC leader, why did your party stop the Constitutional amendment the central government was bringing for sub-categorisation of the OBCs?”

When asked about Siddaramaiah’s recent criticism that the Centre was diverting taxes collected from the southern states towards northern ones, Shah said state taxes were being used to run the country, and that the situation was similar even in Maharashtra and Gujarat.

“Where will money for running the army and the Parliament come from? In a federal structure how can you talk in this way? Do they want to break up the country?” Shah’s comments comes ahead of a meeting of finance ministers of southern states convened by the Kerala finance minister Thomas Isaac in Kochi on April 10.

Shortly after Shah’s accusations, Karnataka law minister TB Jayachandra hit back saying there was nothing wrong in a state asking that it get its just share of the taxes. “Karnataka is one of the highest sources of tax revenue and we are only asking for a greater devolution of this to the state,” he said.

Jayachandra said there was no question of breaking from the country, and described the BJP chief’s remark as irresponsible. “In a democratic structure we are raising our concerns. Besides, we do need lessons from the BJP on the meaning of federalism. They are ones who are out to divide this country,” he said.

On the possibility of mining baron G Janardhan Reddy getting ticket to contest, Shah said Reddy was not part of the BJP. “Once the state leadership sends the parliamentary board of the party the list of hopefuls, we will take a decision on whether or not to field those tainted with corruption charges,” Shah said.

Reddy, a former Karnataka minister spent 40 months in jail following his arrest for illegal mining and was released on bail in January 2015.

On Saturday, Shah also addressed a convention of organic farmers in Mandya. “Some western scholars say this is default organic farming devoid of scientific thought. But this is advanced organic farming, the importance of which was realised by our seers and ascetics,” Shah said.

First Published: Mar 31, 2018 19:16 IST