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Karnataka polls: Parliament in Delhi, but based on values of Basavanna, says Rahul

Congress president Rahul Gandhi also continued his attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying he was only paying lip service to Basavanna and had not followed his principles.

india Updated: Feb 25, 2018 22:14 IST
Vikram Gopal
Vikram Gopal
Hindustan Times, Chikkapadasalagi (Karnataka)
Rahul Gandhi,Rahul Gandhi in Karnataka,Karnataka assembly polls
Congress president Rahul Gandhi performs rituals during the celebration of the Chikkapadasalagi barrage being filled with water in Jamakhandi, Karnataka, on Sunday. (Arijit Sen/HT Photo)

Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Sunday continued to reach out to the Lingayats, a dominant community in the Mumbai-Karnataka region of northern Karnataka, saying the Indian Parliament was based on the values espoused by 12th-century philosopher Basavanna, who is considered to be the founder of the Lingayat sect.

“Last time I was in Karnataka I went to the Anubhava Mantapa and realised that Basavanna’s thinking is there in our Constitution. It’s true that Parliament building is in Delhi, but it is based on the values of Basavanna,” Gandhi said.

He was addressing a rally at Chikkapadasalagi village on the second leg of the Janashirvada Yatra in Karnataka in the build-up to the assembly elections expected in a few months. Earlier in the day, the Congress president gave offerings, called Bhagina, to mark the filling up of the Chikkapadasalagi barrage.

Irrigation was on top of Gandhi’s agenda in this arid region, and he highlighted the state government’s work, saying it had allocated three times the money the previous Bharatiya Janata Party-led government had given for the sector in its five-year tenure.

“The Congress government has spent Rs 58,000 crore on irrigation projects over the past five years, compared to Rs 18,000 spent by the previous government,” Gandhi said.

The Congress president also continued his attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying he was only paying lip service to Basavanna and had not followed his principles.

“Modi talks about corruption but doesn’t do as he promises… After demonetisation, you made ordinary folks stand in line. But Nirav Modi, Vijay Mallya and Lalit Modi fled from the country. What were you doing? Please do what you say and only then can you take Basavanna’s name,” Gandhi said.

At the meeting, chief minister Siddaramaiah said the PM refuses to speak about the problems faced by farmers, Dalits, Adivasis and minority communities. “But he continues to speak about Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas,” he said.

Later, addressing another rally in Mudhol, Gandhi said the United Kingdom and United States of America had experienced democracy only for three centuries but Basavanna had set up a parliament 900 years ago. “When BJP ministers talk about 6 changing the Constitution they disrespect the ideals of Basavanna,” he said, referring to the remarks of Union minister Ananthkumar Hegde that the BJP had come to power to change the Constitution.

Reacting to Gandhi and Siddaramaiah’s accusations, BJP MP Pralhad Joshi said the Congress had ruled the country since the time of Rahul Gandhi’s great grandfather, and it was he who had to answer for the lack of development work during that time rather than the BJP or Prime Minister Modi.

First Published: Feb 25, 2018 14:41 IST