Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said development was his only agenda for the upcoming Karnataka Assembly elections, reported PTI. “BJP has a three-pronged agenda for Karnataka – development, fast-paced development, all-round development,” he told party workers on the NaMo app. “Our agenda is vikas, vikas, vikas.”
Modi accused the ruling Congress government of stalling development in the state. “Indian mainstream politics is associated with the misdeeds and sins of Congress,” he said, according to the Hindustan Times. “The country’s politics cannot be purified unless the country is free from the ‘Congressi’ culture.”
Though Modi did not identify the Lingayat community, he alleged that the Congress was playing the caste card. “When elections come, they offer lollipops to a caste group so they get busy with it,” said Modi. “But the BJP’s priority is politics of development.”
On March 19, the Karnataka government accepted the the Nagamohan Das committee’s recommendation that the Lingayat community be recognised as a separate religious group, distinct from Hindus. Lingayats, who are classified as Other Backward Classes, are considered the single-largest community in the state, with their population estimated at anywhere between 11.5% and 19%. Since their vote is widely believed to be decisive in 110 out of the 224 Assembly constituencies, Lingayats are also considered politically powerful.
Modi will campaign in Karnataka on May 1. Elections to the 224-member Assembly will take place on May 12, and the results will be announced on May 15.