BENGALURU: Prime Minister Narendra Modi amped up his criticism against the Congress on Saturday, predicting the return of the BJP to Karnataka and squeeze Rahul Gandhi's party to just two states. PM Modi, as usual, also came with an acronym to describe the opposition party's new status. "When the results for the Karnataka elections are out on May 15, then it will not be an Indian National Congress. It will become PPP Congress," PM Modi, who doesn't lose an opportunity to coin acronyms to make his point, said.
- PM Modi says BJP will demolish Congress in Karnataka elections
- Says BJP will limit Congress only to Punjab, Puducherry, Parivar (family)
- Siddaramaiah's comeback: BJP's "PPP" are Prison, Price Rise and Pakoda
"That means Punjab, Puducherry, Parivar Congress," he said. Karnataka is one of the only four states ruled by the Congress. The other three are Punjab, Puducherry and Mizoram. This isn't the first time that the BJP or PM Modi has predicted the defeat of the Siddaramaiah government or attacked the dynastic politics of the Congress.
The BJP's presumptive chief minister BS Yeddyurappa had recently also predicted a clear majority for the BJP in the 224-member assembly, the second slot for the Congress with 50-60 seats and JDS, around 30. But the barbs have become sharper as campaigning for the May 12 election enters the home stretch.
PM Modi said despite a series of electoral losses in Maharashtra, Goa, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, and Tripura did not have the Congress as worried as it is now.
"I tell you why... Because their ministers and leaders in Karnataka have built a tank here. A part of money looted from people is taken home and the rest is put in that tank. The tank is linked to Delhi through a pipeline which carries the money directly to Delhi," he said, asking people to "be alert".
"If the Congress comes to power, its government will do nothing but loot," PM Modi said. It is seen as his counter-offensive to Rahul Gandhi who has been taking swipes at him for not speaking about corruption cases against the Reddy brothers or its CM face Yeddyurappa.
Rahul Gandhi, who had tweeted a sharp attack on him for protecting Yeddyurappa just hours earlier, has not responded to the attack.
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, who was also on his line of fire, however, was quick with his take.
"Heard you spun a new abbreviation 'PPP' today. Sir, we have always championed the 3 Ps of democracy - 'Of the People, By the People, For the People'. While your party is a 'Prison', 'Price Rise' & 'Pakoda' party," Siddaramaiah tweeted.
He also reminded PM Modi that it was mining baron G Janardhan Reddy, who he called "one of your friends", who was believed to have spent Rs 500 crore on his daughter's wedding at the peak of the cash crunch due to the notes ban decision.
Siddaramaiah also posed some questions, suggesting that PM Modi should also touch upon issues that really matter to people of Karnataka. "Why is diesel and petrol so expensive when international crude oil prices are half of what they used to be before 2014?" he asked.
Earlier in the day, PM Modi sought to counter the Congress campaign that the BJP and former prime minister HD Deve Gowda-led Janata Dal Secular had a deal. PM Modi, who had recently accused Rahul Gandhi of insulting Deve Gowda, insisted in Tumkuru that the Congress and JDS had a "secret understanding".