Kicking off the Lok Sabha campaign for the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) coalition in the state on Sunday, Congress president Rahul Gandhi urged the leaders of both parties to help each other’s candidates in the 28 seats in the state.
As part of the coalition’s seat-sharing agreement, the Congress will contest 21 of the 28 seats in the state and the JD(S) seven.
Sunday’s rally on the outskirts of the state capital, attended by around one lakh persons according to the police, came in the backdrop of discontent in the ranks of both parties over the decision to contest together, especially in the southern Old Mysuru region where the two parties are bitter rivals.
“PM Modi waived Rs 3.5 lakh crore of 15 capitalists. But when farmers ask for a waiver, then Arun Jaitley says that’s not our policy,” said Rahul Gandhi.
The Congress chief said that the Congress deliberated on its Nyuntam Aay Yojana or NYAY for six months. The scheme promises Rs 72,000 yearly over 20% of the poorest families.
“If PM Modi can give money to the rich then we can give it to the poor. You do what you feel is right and we will do what we feel is right,” stated Gandhi.
Elaborating on the plan, the Congress chief stated, “In 5 years we will put 3.6 lakh crore in the accounts of the poor. This is our surgical strike on poverty. Twenty-five crore people will benefit and 5 crore families will get money deposited in the account. In five years, you won’t find any family with less than Rs 12000 per month. We will make it the poverty line.”
Hailing the joint rally of the two coalition partners, Karnataka CM HD Kumaraswamy told it was a “historic day”.
“On May 23, 2018, this coalition government was formed with the intention of ensuring the defeat of the BJP. I want to tell the people that under the leadership of the Congress the regional parties, with an eye on development, must come together,” told Kumaraswamy.
Seconding the CM’s views, Congress leader and former CM Siddaramaiah told, “Where there is a JD(S) candidate, the Congress workers must join hands and ensure victory and vice versa. We must win in all 28 seats.”
Siddaramaiah alleged that PM Modi is the chowkidar of the rich, not the poor, farmers or minorities.
JD(S) patriarch and former prime minister Deve Gowda said the Congress and the JD(S) decided to come together under the leadership of Rahul Gandhi to bring about a change in the country.
Recalling the swearing-in ceremony of Karnataka CM and his son HD Kumaraswamy on May 23 last year, Gowda underlined that it was the first time in the country that all regional leaders had come together. He said the exercise was to prove to the country that it can never be a “Hindu Rashtra”, which the RSS is working for.
Responding to Gandhi’s speech, state BJP spokesperson S Prakash said the event was an exercise in futility. “Rahul Gandhi has become an ATM of lies. He is promising the sky knowing full well that he will not come to power,” he stated.
Regarding the coalition rally, Prakash said the aim was to project unity among the leaders and send a message to their workers then they failed spectacularly. “All they managed to do by only speaking about the prime minister was to give him more publicity,” Prakash further said.