Jairam Ramesh calls Modi 'master of distortion...' as PM holds K'taka roadshow

May 06, 2023 12:23 PM IST

Karnataka election news: The Congress has been critical of chief minister Basavaraj Bommai's government as it looks to wrest the state back from the BJP.

Congress comms-in-charge Jairam Ramesh ripped into prime minister Narendra Modi Saturday as the latter led a massive roadshow in Bengaluru in poll-bound Karnataka. The opposition leader labelled Modi 'the master of distortion' and his jab 'abuse' No. 92??' - a sarcastic reference to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party's claims the prime minister is being 'targeted' by the Congress in a shrill and high-pitched battle for the control of the state. Ramesh also stopped short of accusing the prime minister of 'hate speech', declaring Modi's remarks at a rally scheduled for later today would only 'inflame prejudice and bigotry'.

Congress General Secretary in-charge of Communications Jairam Ramesh addresses a press conference, at AICC HQ, in New Delhi. (ANI Photo/Sanjay Sharma)
Congress General Secretary in-charge of Communications Jairam Ramesh addresses a press conference, at AICC HQ, in New Delhi. (ANI Photo/Sanjay Sharma)

"The Master Of Distortion and Incitement (‘Abuse’ No. 92??) is arriving in Bengaluru today. We already know what he'll say to inflame prejudice & bigotry. He will of course stay absolutely silent on the real issues..." he tweeted before.

The tweet highlighted four issues the Congress has flagged in the campaign so far - allegations Karnataka ministers and government officials command a 40 per cent 'commission' to grant projects, the price rise, unemployment and the poor condition of Bengaluru's infrastructure; the last is a perennial problem.

LIVE UPDATES | PM Modi begins grand 26-km roadshow in Bengaluru

"This time the despair is so high that his (Modi's) #40km40percent roadshow over 2 days is locking up an entire city, creating chaos and uncertainty for students writing crucial exams, and felling a number of trees…"

"Have you ever seen a PM this desperate?" Jairam Ramesh asked.

The BJP and the Congress have grabbed most of the headlines in the run up to Wednesday's election, with insults and allegations thrown by both sides.

This morning the Congress said it had audio evidence of a 'plot' to assassinate party chief Mallikarjun Kharge and his family. "Plotting to assassinate the president of Congress Shri Mallikarjun Kharge, his wife and his children..." Rajya Sabha MP Randeep Surjewala tweeted with the audio clip.

READ | 'Plotting to assassinate' Kharge: Congress' slams BJP's 'blue-eyed boy'

The Congress has accused a BJP MP - Manikanta Rathod from the Chitapur constituency in Karnataka's Kalaburagi district - of orchestrating the plot.

Hindustan Times cannot independently verify the authenticity of the audio clip.

The BJP has yet to respond to the Congress' 'assassinate Kharge' claims.

READ | Who is Manikanta Rathod, accused of conspiring to kill Kharge?

The two sides also spat venom at each other over Kharge's comment about poisonous snakes and prime minister Modi; the Congress chief appeared to call Modi a snake in Kolar but later said he was referring to the BJP's ideology. Modi hit back claiming the Congress hates him because he is anti-corruption.

READ | 'I am a snake, but…': Modi responds to Kharge's jab in Karnataka's Kolar

The BJP then launched its own 'poison' barb with a Karnataka BJP MLA Basanagouda Yatnal calling ex-Congress chief Sonia Gandhi ‘vishe kanya’.

READ | 'Poisonous woman...': K'taka BJP MLA attacks Sonia Gandhi

The exchange of insults prompted the Election Commission to 'warn' both sides against the use of 'inappropriate vocabulary and language'.

Karnataka will vote for a new government in a single phase on May 10, with results due three days later. The election - and those in the key states of Congress-ruled Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh and chief minister K Chandrashekhar Rao's Telangana - are seen as major tests of the BJP's bid next year to win a third consecutive Lok Sabha election.

With input from agencies

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