Rahul Gandhi represents the laziest type of politics of making bizarre allegations and promises without any intention to improve people's lives, Union minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar said on Saturday, days after the Congress leader created a ripple by pitching for caste census and pledged a slew of sops in Karnataka.
He also expressed confidence that the rebellion of some key BJP leaders in Karnataka will not come in the way of the incumbent party winning its first-ever majority in the coming assembly polls.
He said state BJP leaders have accepted the generational change after the "brave" decision of fielding 74 first-time candidates in the May 10 elections.
The BJP has come to be identified with the state's future, while the Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular) symbolise the lazy, entitled and exploitative politics of the past, Chandrasekhar, a Rajya Sabha MP from Karnataka, told PTI in an interview.
With Rahul Gandhi making a slew of promises, including allowances for the unemployed and women, and backing demand for caste census, a bid to woo politically important Other Backward Classes (OBC), at a poll rally in Karnataka, Chandrasekhar took a swipe at him questioning the party's track record when it was in power for decades.
Gandhi wants people to forget that his party has ruled for decades, he said.
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It is the laziest type of politics that Rahul Gandhi represents, the BJP leader said, adding his politics is all about saying something bizarre, and making a few allegations and promises and then going away without having any intention to work hard to improve the lives of people.
They did nothing for the OBC is when they were in government. Look at all of the work done for the community under the prime minister and the double-engine government in Karnataka. To make promises and disappear is the Congress style," the minister said.
"They have gone and made promises in Punjab, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh that they never fulfilled, he claimed.
The BJP leader said that the defection of Lingayat leaders like former chief minister Jagadish Shettar and former deputy chief minister Laxman Savadi will fail to dent the community's support to the party, as he noted the BJP's historical commitment, recognition and respect to the leaders from the group.
One or two leaders, who wanted to put their personal ambition ahead of everybody else and everything else, have gone to the Congress or to the JD(S). If you look at Shettar or Savadi, both leaders enjoyed a long stint with the BJP and always subscribed to its ideology.
We will find that on May 13 they will not only lose (the election), but whatever respect they have earned over the last several decades as BJP members, they will have lost that as well, he said.
Asked about the Congress accusing the BJP of insulting Lingayat leaders, he said the opposition party has a history of creating divisions in the state's largest community, believed to be around 17 per cent of the total population.
In the 2018 polls, the then chief minister Siddaramaiah created propaganda about Lingayats not being Hindus, he said.
This is the standing strategy of the Congress to try and divide those people who support our good governance. They've done this before as well. And like they have failed in 2018. They will fail this time as well," he said.
There's support for the BJP among various communities, be it Lingayats, Vokkaligas or Dalits, because of the "work of its government in the state and Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government at the Centre, and this is based on their deep belief in our governance", he said.
Some tweets by Siddaramaiah or some other Congress leader will not affect one or another community's support for the BJP, he said.
It is not affected if you take away one or two leaders through inducement or whatever. The basic support of the community doesn't change because of that, he said.
The Congress is fighting an existential crisis and is desperate as it knows that a loss in Karnataka will mean that the party will vanish from the state as it has from the rest of south India except Kerala where it has already lost back-to-back elections, he said.
The BJP, the Union minister said, is very clearly positioned to campaign on a pro-incumbency plank about the last three and a half years of its efforts during the "most difficult" time in Karnataka history as it was hit by floods and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Following the hung verdict delivered by the 2018 polls, the Congress and the JD(S) joined hands to come to power before the BJP, the single largest party, toppled the government and took the reins of power in 2029 after 17 alliance MLAs quit the assembly and joined the saffron party.
Now the state's economy is not only back on track but it is one of the fastest growing and performing economies, with the government under Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai delivering on Modi's plank of "maximum governance", he said, citing a slew of schemes for the welfare of various segments of society.
The BJP leadership's decision to field 74 new faces among the total 224 candidates is important and brave as it believes that it is the party for the future of Karnataka, he said.
(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)