Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said there was a tacit alliance between the Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular). “They pretend to fight, but in Bengaluru, the JD(S) supported a Congress mayor,” Modi said at an election rally in Tumakuru ahead of the Karnataka elections. “Right now, the JD(S) is working towards saving the Congress in Karnataka.”

Modi’s comments come days after Chief Minister and Congress leader Siddaramaiah ruled out any alliance with the JD(S). “This situation [of a hung House] does not arise at all,” he had said in an interview with journalist Barkha Dutt. He had also alleged that the JD(S) had a “tacit understanding” with the BJP, and was backing it in the elections.

Janata Dal (Secular) chief HD Deve Gowda, however, had categorically said that his party would not tie up with the BJP under any circumstances for the May 12 Assembly elections. Some opinion polls have predicted that neither the Congress nor the Bharatiya Janata Party will win a clear majority in the 224-member House, and that there is a high possibility of the JD(S) playing the kingmaker.

‘Corruption is key to Congress’ existence’

Addressing a rally in Gadag later on Saturday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi accused the Congress of being corrupt. He said the Congress sees corruption opportunities in the forests of Karnataka. “Congress is not bothered about the depletion of natural resources here,” Modi said. “As long as the pockets of their leaders are full, Congress is happy. Corruption is the key to the existence of the Congress.”

He also claimed that the Congress has a tender system to distribute tickets for candidates. “Whoever sends maximum amount of money to Delhi will get the chief ministership in Congress,” he claimed.

The prime minister said the Congress had lost in recent Assembly elections, including in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and Tripura, because the people have rejected the party. “After losing the Karnataka elections, the Congress will become PPP Congress – Punjab, Puducherry and Parivar Congress,” he added.

‘Congress believes in divide and rule’

The prime minister also addressed a gathering in Shivamogga district where he continued to attack the Congress. “Congress believes in divide and rule philosophy,” Modi said.

He said it was shameful that Congress leaders are using abusive language against BJP’s chief ministerial candidate BS Yeddyurappa. “This is not acceptable at all. Yeddyurappa is a respectable leader,” he added.

Reacting to Congress President Rahul Gandhi’s remarks that Congress will “not let thieves sit in Legislative Assembly”, Modi said, “Why don’t they tell about the Congress leaders sitting as MLAs [and] ministers in the Karnataka Legislative Assembly, whose almirahs and bed sheets were found laden with notes”. He said that the people in Karnataka are aware that Congress wants power in the state “to fill the coffers of a select few sitting in Delhi.”

“Spreading lies has become the character of Congress. Spreading lies has become a business for the Congress,” he said.