Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday addressed a rally in Bengaluru, marking the end of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s Nava Nirman Parivartana Yatre in poll-bound Karnataka. More than 3,000 police personnel and 1,200 traffic policemen were deployed to ensure a smooth rally.
The yatra, which was was flagged off by BJP President Amit Shah on November 1, passed through 224 assemblies in the state. The party’s state unit had used social media channels and online registry inviting youth to attend Modi’s address.
Modi said Karnataka will soon be free from “Congress culture” and that the ruling party in the state was “standing on the exit door”. “When the UPA was in power at the Centre, Karnataka was allotted Rs 73,000 crore,” Modi said at the rally held at Bengaluru’s Palace Grounds. “After the BJP came at the Centre, it was decided to allot Rs 2 lakh crore to Karnataka. It is nearly 180% more than what Congress provided.”
It was announced in the Union Budget on February 1 that a 160-km long suburban railway network will be built worth Rs 17,000 crore, Modi said. “It will benefit around 15 lakh commuters. Not only will the project help commuters with traffic, but it will also help clean the city’s environment,” he added.
Modi claimed that more than one crore loans have been sanctioned for the people of Karnataka under the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana. More than 1.16 crore accounts were opened in the state under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana, he said. It opened the doors of banking for the poor and lower middle class, he added.
Around 8.5 lakh women have been provided free LPG connection under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, he added. “Around 34 lakh toilets have been built under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan.”
Modi also reiterated the government’s Budget promise to increase the minimum support price for farmers to 1.5 times the production cost of crops. “If BS Yeddyurappa, the son of a farmer, becomes the chief minister of Karnataka, the projects for farmers will work at its best, because Yeddyurappa has the farmer’s best interest at heart...When facilities are provided to villages, migration to the cities will go down and the mounting pressure on cities will be released,” he added.
The prime minister said his government has made the price of fruits and vegetables its top priority under “Operation Green”. “TOP means tomato, onion and potato,” Modi said. “Operation Green will be beneficial for farmers just like the Amul model was successful in the dairy business.”
Modi then took on the Congress government in Karnataka over the increasing crime rate in the state. “While the world is talking about Ease of Doing Business, the BJP government is talking about Ease of Living, but the Karnataka government is talking about Ease of Doing Murder,” Modi claimed.
Modi said several Congress leaders have been facing allegations of corruption and that there have been reports of demanding commission in several projects. “Karnataka’s Congress government is being recognised as 10% government as no work is possible without 10% commission,” he added.
Earlier on Sunday, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah welcomed the prime minister to Bengaluru, and asked him help the state resolve the Mahadayi water dispute. “I am glad you are making time to visit the country’s start-up and innovation hub, Namma Bengaluru, today,” Siddaramaiah said on Twitter. “On behalf of my people, I urge you to find the time for Karnataka’s drinking water needs and help us resolve the Mahadayi dispute.”
Meanwhile, several Kannada activists assembled on Sunday at Freedom Park in Bengaluru seeking Modi’s intervention in resolving the Mahadayi row. “We have requested Union Minister Anant Kumar to arrange for the meeting [with Modi],” President of Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce SR Govind told The Hindu. “He assured us he would try. But, no appointment has been given to us till now. We will march towards the rally venue to meet the prime minister.”
On February 2, the Karnataka High Court had stayed the shutdown called by some Kannada groups, calling it “unconstitutional”. The bandh was called to protest against the non-implementation of the Kalasa-Banduri dam project. The project will divert water from the Mahadayi river to districts in North Karnataka, which depend on the river for drinking water.