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Sonia Gandhi, PM Modi Face Off Before Karnataka Elections

With days left for Karnataka assembly elections, top commanders of BJP and Congress lock horns.

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Video Editor: Purnendu Pritam

With just two days left before the adrenaline-charged campaign for the Karnataka Assembly elections comes to an end, the BJP and Congress, the two major contenders for power, fielded their top commanders, who attacked each other over corruption and hardline Hindutva.

Leading the charge for the BJP, Prime Minister Narendra Modi claimed the people of Karnataka had decided to "uproot" the Congress and "punish" it for its “wrongdoings”, and that the party was already trying to find excuses like faulty EVMs for its "impending defeat”.

Taking on the Siddaramaiah government over alleged corruption at the three rallies he addressed on 8 May, Modi said there was not even a single minister who was not facing accusations of financial irregularities.

Sonia Gandhi's rally in Vijayapura in north Karnataka was seen as an attempt to reach out to the community, which has traditionally backed the BJP. Gandhi said “Modi ji has junoon (passion) of Congress mukt bharat.”

He is possessed by the devil of Congress mukt bharat (Congress mukht bharat ka bhoot laga hai). Sonia told the audience, as she attacked the prime minister for doing nothing for the middle class, women, girls, dalits and backward classes.

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Taking on the prime minister over steps to tackle corruption, she wanted to know why the Lokpal, the proposed anti-graft ombudsman, had not been constituted.

Sonia claimed Congress-ruled Karnataka was discriminated against as it got "too little" by way of central assistance for drought relief.

Modi, who addressed rallies at Vijayapura, Koppal and Bengaluru, accused the Congress of pursuing the policy of "divide and rule".

Modi said with defeat staring the Congress in the face, it was busy trying to find excuses like blaming the EVMs for the loss. He also said attempts were being made to confuse the voters with the claim that the elections will throw up a hung Assembly.

(Published in an arrangement with PTI)

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