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Lok sabha elections 2019: BJP, Congress step up attack as second phase nears

Addressing a rally in Karnataka’s Mangaluru, Modi alleged that the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) ruling coalition in the state was inspired by “pariwarvad” (dynasty) while the BJP was focused on “rashtrawad” (nationalism).

lok sabha elections Updated: Apr 13, 2019 23:30 IST
Agencies
Agencies
Kolar/Theni/Ramanathapuram/Mangaluru
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Lok sabha elections 2019: BJP, Congress step up attack as second phase nears(Sushil Kumar/HT PHOTO)

Days ahead of the second phase of Lok Sabha elections, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Saturday stepped up attack against the Congress in Karnataka, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi hitting out at party chief Rahul Gandhi and saying that that the Opposition party’s “mahamilavat” culture had destroyed the country’s traditions, weakened its defence and the economy.

Addressing a rally in Karnataka’s Mangaluru, Modi alleged that the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) ruling coalition in the state was inspired by “pariwarvad” (dynasty) while the BJP was focused on “rashtrawad” (nationalism).

He added that the Karnataka government was an “enemy” of the farmers and accused the alliance partners of failing to provide a list of beneficiaries for the Centre’s scheme to deposit ₹6,000 a year into their accounts.

Earlier in the day, Modi said the Congress’s proposed NYAY (Nyuntam Aay Yojana) scheme — a minimum income scheme that promises deposits of ₹72,000 annually into the accounts of five crore families — only proves that the Opposition party had done injustice to the country for 60 years. “Congress and dishonesty are best friends. But sometimes by mistake they end up speaking the truth. Now they are saying Nyay (justice) will happen. Even if they did not intend to, they have admitted that they had done injustice for the 60 years,” the PM said while addressing rallies in Theni and Ramanathapuram districts of Tamil Nadu.

Gandhi — who was also campaigning in the Karnataka on Saturday — criticised the prime minister, alleging that the “chowkidar” (watchman) was a “chor” (thief).

Raking up the Rafale fighter jet deal issue, Gandhi further alleged that PM Modi had stolen Rs 30,000 crore and gifted it to his “thief friend” Anil Ambani.

“This election is between Anil Ambani and the common citizens, five years of ‘anyay’ (injustice) and NYAY (justice), thieves and honest people and false promises and truth,” Gandhi said at another rally in Chitradurga, Karnataka.

Gandhi’s accusations come on a day a French newspaper Le Monde reported that France waived taxes worth 143.7 million euros to a French-registered telecom subsidiary of Anil Ambani’s Reliance Communications in 2015, months after India announced it was purchasing 36 Rafale jets. Reliance Communications has denied any wrongdoing, saying the tax dispute was settled under legal framework, while the Ministry of Defence has said any connection drawn between the tax issue and the Rafale matter are “inaccurate” and “tendentious”. The Congress has previously claimed that an earlier agreement for Rafale fighter planes was scrapped and a new one was signed just to provide Ambani an opportunity to sign an offset deal with Dassault Aviation, the makers of Rafale. Both the government and Reliance have repeatedly denied this.

First Published: Apr 13, 2019 23:30 IST