Karnataka Polls Not About Me, Modi Trying to Distract People, Says Rahul Gandhi

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Congress President Rahul Gandhi addressing media in Bengaluru on May 8. — IANS

BJP on personal slander trip, not serious about Karnataka, says the Congress president

BENGALURU (IANS) — Under attack from Prime Minister Narendra Modi for declaring his prime ministerial ambitions, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi on Thursday accused the former of trying to distract voters from issues concerning Karnataka’s future, and said the elections were not about him.

Addressing the media here on the last day of campaigning, when Gandhi was quizzed about Modi’s attack on him following his declaration, he said: “As far as PM’s remarks are concerned this is Karnataka election. All these remarks are aimed at distracting the voters.”

Gandhi had officially thrown his hat into the ring on Tuesday. When asked by the media whether he harboured prime ministerial ambitions, the Congress chief said: “Yes, why not?” If his party emerged as the single-largest party in 2019.

“Modi likes to distract people. This election has nothing to do with Rahul Gandhi. This election is about the future of Karnataka. Narendra Modi has nothing to say about the future of Karnataka. He is therefore distracting.

“I am not going to engage in that distraction,” Gandhi said.

During an interaction with eminent citizens in Bengaluru on Tuesday, Gandhi had also said that Modi would not be the Prime Minister again.

Modi on Wednesday dismissed Gandhi’s remarks calling him an immature and arrogant “naamdar” (dynast), who does not have confidence in his alliance partners and does not care about Congress’ internal democracy.

BJP lacks seriousness 

Earlier on Thursday Rahul Gandhi said the BJP has restricted itself to only mounting personal attacks on him and his party leaders during its Karnataka campaign and lacked seriousness about what they wished to deliver to the people in the state.

“We put up a vision for the state while our opposition restricted itself to making personal attacks at the Chief Minister (Siddaramaiah), (Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun) Khargeji, and myself and others,” Gandhi told the media here.

“They (BJP) have not really named what they want to do for Karnataka. What the Congress wants to do for the state is very very clear.

“We made certain commitments and we delivered on those commitments and now we have prepared a manifesto that is truly the voice of the people here,” he added.

Gandhi said senior party leader Veerappa Moily had prepared the manifesto. He criss-crossed the state, held meetings with thousands of people before putting it all together.

“We put forward the essence of what the people are looking for in the next five years,” said Gandhi.

The 47-year-old Congress chief said: “In contrast, the Bharatiya Janata Party built its manifesto inside closed doors in three-four days. They copied from ours.

“So, there is a lack of seriousness among them about what they want to deliver… That I think is a huge difference.”

“I am very confident that the Congress party is going to win the election,” Gandhi added.

Gandhi, who finished his ninth leg of campaigning for the May 12 polls on Thursday, said: “I have now been travelling around Karnataka for a couple of months.

“It has been an honour… I have learned a tremendous amount from the people of the state, from their spirit, from their perspective.”

“The Congress party has fought a very good campaign, we have all stood together, our party is completely united and we fought the campaign on fundamental issues,” he added.

The results would be declared on May 15.

Rahul slams Modi’s frugal interaction with media

Rahul Gandhi on Thursday also slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi for not addressing a single press conference in four years.

Hours after addressing a media conference here, Gandhi promised to hold many more such interaction with journalists.

“Enjoyed meeting the regional and national press today in Bengaluru. We had a packed house! I am sorry not everyone got a chance to ask a question due to the paucity of time,” Gandhi tweeted.

“But, unlike our Prime Minister who hasn’t had a press conference in four years, I will be doing many more of these,” he added.

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