On May Day, Modi paints himself a worker

Anil Urs Santemarahalli | Updated on May 01, 2018

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with the BJP’s chief ministerial candidate BS Yeddyurappa during an election campaign in Chamarajanagar on Tuesday   -  PTI

Says the elitist Congress cannot stand the country’s development, targets Rahul Gandhi

More than 60 days after his previous election rally in the State, Prime Minister Narendra Modi returned to Karnataka on May Day, identifying himself as a kaamdar (worker), and contrasting himself with Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, who he referred to as a ‘naamdar’ (elite person).

Addressing a massive public rally at Santemaralli in Chamarajanagar district, Modi said the Congress cannot tolerate the development in the country, and had therefore resorted to obstructing works.

“You (referring to Rahul Gandhi) are elite and bourgeois (naamdaar) and I am only a kaamdar (worker). How can a labourer like me sit before you?”

“For centuries we kaamdaar (labour class) were in no position to sit before you. We are not disturbed by your taunts because we are used to such insults and humiliation. Such insults strengthen us as we continue to work.”

On the BJP’s propects in the Karnataka elections, he said: “In Delhi, I have been getting information that the BJP campaign is losing its steam in Karnataka. But here, the crowd tells me that there’s a wave in favour of the BJP.”

Takes a jibe at Rahul

Attacking Rahul Gandhi again, and raising the foreign origin of his mother and former Congress president Sonia Gandhi, the PM said: “The Congress President has challenged me that if he’s allowed to speak in the Parliament for 15 minutes, I’ll not be able to sit there.”

“Speaking for 15 minutes is a big thing for the Congress President. Here I want to ask Rahul Gandhi speak for 15 minutes in whichever language you are comfortable in — Hindi, English or your mother’s (Sonia’s) language — and in that speech please mention the achievements of the Siddaramaiah-led Congress government and do mention Sir M Visvesvaraya’s name five times,” Modi told a cheering crowd. “Only then people of Karnataka will respect you.”

Modi was referring to the Congress chief’s reported inability to pronounce the name of Visvesvaraya, the engineer-dewan of the erstwhile princely state of Mysuru.

Modi, who addressed 22 candidates, began his speech in Kannada by invoking local religious deities and religious heads like Manteswamy, Devi Maravva, Mahadeshwara, Biligiriranga, Chamarajeshwara, Himadagopalaswamy, Suttur Mutt, Kanakagiri, Salur Mutt.

He also invoked Mysore ruler Chamaraja Wodeyar, Kannada writer GP Rajarathnam, actor Rajkumar, and said the district needs to solve its drinking-water crisis. It has tremendous potential in creating jobs in tourism and black granite industries.

The PM faulted the Congress’ development model, and said: “In 2009, there were 39 villages without electricity in Karnataka. Of them, the Congress could only electrify two villages by 2014.”

‘2+1 formula’

Dynastic politics had ruined democracy, destroyed Karnataka and the aspirations of its people, Modi said.

“Here one can see there is a ‘2+1 formula’, which is the Karnataka version of the Congress’ dynastic politics. This formula is the innovation of those who sleep more and wake up occasionally,” Modi said, taking a dig at Chief Minister Siddaramaiah.

“CM is running away from his own constituency (Varuna) by sacrificing his son (Yathindra Siddaramaiah). If he fails in the election, at least his son will continue his legacy the family business of politics.”

Ministers in Karnataka are also following the 1+1 formula, Modi alleged. “I can sense the pain of loyal party workers. The elite people can never sense the pain of workers.”

To chanting of “Modi, Modi”, the PM told the crowd “On May 12, you will not be electing an MLA but you will be choosing freedom from corruption.”

He ended the speech by making the crowd chant “sarakara badalasi, BJP gellisi (Change the government, help BJP win)”.

Published on May 01, 2018

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