The BJP on Saturday accused the Congress government in Karnataka of misleading people over the murder of a girl on a college campus, alleging that it has prioritised the protection of its "vote bank" over the protection of women.

BJP general secretary Vinod Tawde sought to draw a parallel between Karnataka's handling of Neha Hiremath's killing to the way West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee allegedly shielded the Sandeshkhali case accused Shajahan Sheikh.

"In a similar way, the Congress-led Siddaramaiah government in Karnataka is attempting to protect Fayaz who brutally murdered a Congress councillor's daughter Neha," he told reporters.

Love Jihad Controversy

He said Congress councillor Niranjan Hiremath has claimed that his daughter's murder is a case of "love jihad" but Chief Minister Siddaramaiah is framing it as a love affair and attempting to mislead the public.

The Congress government should punish criminals severely, regardless of the religion, he said.

Tawde also mocked the opposition INDIA bloc, noting that Telangana Chief Minister Revanth Reddy criticised DMK leader Udhayanidhi Stalin after the polls were over in Tamil Nadu.

Likewise, once the elections in Kerala are over, Congress leaders will start speaking against Kerala's ruling Left parties, he said.

This is the true nature of their alliance, he said. In an interview, Reddy had flayed Stalin over his remarks on Sanatan Dharma.

Tawde also claimed that TMC president Mamata Banerjee has said she will lead the INDIA bloc after the elections. "Have Rahul Gandhi and Mallikarjun Kharge accepted her claim," he asked.