Bengaluru, May 1 (IANS) Accusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi of repeating lies for political purposes, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Tuesday challenged him to take part in an open debate with him on the issues of crime, and the law and order situation in Karnataka compared to the BJP-ruled states.
Responding to Modi’s allegations that the law and order in the state under Congress rule had collapsed, Siddaramaiah tweeted: “Crime is not increasing in Karnataka abnormally. PM repeats the lie of increasing crime rate for political purposes.
“I challenge him for an open debate on a single platform on crime and law and order situation in Karnataka viz-a-viz BJP-ruled states.”
The Prime Minister, addressing a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) rally in the coastal district of Udupi on Tuesday, held the Congress government responsible for the alleged murders of BJP party workers in the state.
“It is extremely shameful that the Congress government has allowed violence in the state and several BJP party workers were murdered. The Congress must provide an answer to these rising crimes,” he said.
The state police, however, earlier said the killings of a few people were “neither communal nor political”.
Siddaramaiah also hit out at Modi for his remarks that the Karnataka Chief Minister was contesting from two constituencies and changing his seat, fearing defeat.
“Was it fear that drove you to contest from two parliamentary constituencies (Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh and Vadodara in Gujarat) Mr. PM Narendra Modi? Of course you are a 56-inch man, you would have some clever explanation,” Siddaramaiah wrote.
Modi had contested from both Varanasi and Vadodara in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
“Forget two seats, Sir. Worry about the fact that your party (BJP) will not cross 60-70 (seats in the upcoming election),” Siddaramaiah added in his tweet.
The Congress leader also took a jibe at Modi’s comments that the party was allowing kith and kin to contest the elections.
“For the Chief Minister (Siddaramaiah) the rule is ‘2+1’, where he will contest from two seats and has given his old seat (Varuna in Mysuru district) to his son (Yathindra) and for the other ministers (in the state cabinet), the rule seems to be ‘1+1’, allowing their relatives to fight polls,” Modi said at a rally in the southern state.
Siddaramaiah has filed nominations for the May 12 election from Chamundeshwari in Mysuru district and Badami in Bagalkot district, while his son Yathindra is contesting from Varuna in Mysuru district.
Though Siddaramaiah had won from Varuna twice since the 2008 Assembly elections, he shifted to Chamundeshwari, making way for his son Yathindra to contest from his home constituency.
Reacting to the allegations, Siddaramaiah tweeted: “Today PM avoided talking about his complicity in closing CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) cases against the Reddy brothers. Instead he spoke about some ‘2+1’ formula. Here is the explanation to his formula to win election: 2 Reddys + 1 Yeddy (referring to party’s chief ministerial candidate B.S. Yeddyurappa).”
The Karnataka Chief Minister, along with his tweets posted a picture of the scam-tainted mining baron from Ballari district G. Janardhana Reddy, his brother G. Karunakara Reddy who will be contesting from Harpanahallli in the same district, along with Yeddyurappa.
Janardhana Reddy, who was the state Tourism and Infrastructure Minister between 2008-11 when Yeddyurappa was the Chief Minister, was arrested and jailed for about two years after the state’s anti-graft watchdog (Lokayukta) named him in the multi-crore iron ore mining scam that rocked Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh for about a decade (2001-10).
Yeddyurappa, too, was forced to step down from the Chief Minister’s post over his alleged involvement in a land scam.
The BJP is contesting from all the 224 assembly segments in the state in a bid to return to power after it lost to the Congress in the May 2013 elections.