NEW DELHI. Prime Minister Narendra Modi lashed out at Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for his comments on democracy in the country as an affront to its people. Addressing public meetings in Karnataka where Assembly elections are due by May, the Prime Minister tore into the Congress party and its allies with being “busy digging my grave,” even as he was focused in ensuring development.
Modi’s sixth visit to the southern state this year has given a fresh momentum to the ruling BJP’s bid for a successive term. Modi addressed two public meetings in Mandya in the Old Mysuru region and Dharwad in north Karnataka and laid the foundation stones of projects worth around Rs 16,000 crore.
Besides the expressway in Mandya and IIT campus, he inaugurated the 1.5-km-long ‘world’s largest railway platform’ at Hubballi’s Sri Siddharoodha Swami railway station. The Rs 8,480 crore expressway, which involved six laning of the Bengaluru-Nidaghatta-Mysuru section of NH-275, is expected to reduce travel time between the two cities by half – from the current three hours to one-and-a-half hours.
Taking veiled potshots at Gandhi’s remarks made in London – that structures of Indian democracy are under ‘’brutal attack’’ – he termed it an insult to 12th century social reformer Basaveshwara, the people of Karnataka, India’s great traditions and its citizens.
Addressing the public after inaugurating the permanent campus of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Dharwad, he recalled his unveiling the statue of 12th-century social reformer Basaveshwara in London a few years ago.
“Statue of Lord Basaveshwara is in London, but it is unfortunate that in the same London questions were raised on India’s democracy. The roots of India’s democracy have been nurtured for centuries. No power in the world can harm the democratic tradition of our country. Yet some people are putting Indian democracy on trial. Such people are insulting Basaveshwara, the people of Karnataka, India’s great traditions, the country’s 130 crore aware citizens ,” Modi said without naming Gandhi.
It may be recalled that during a discussion at the Chatham House think tank in London on March 6, Rahul Gandhi had said, “You must be aware of what is happening in India — the idea of a democratic model is being attacked and threatened”.
The Mandya event was also attended by Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, Union Ministers Nitin Gadkari and Pralhad Joshi, and actor-politician and Mandya Lok Sabha MP Sumalatha Ambareesh, who recently announced her support to the BJP.
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