BJP, Congress accused of using communal issues to garner votes

The State Congress has failed as an Opposition party, and like the mythical Kumabhakarna, it has awakened only after 4.5 years of misrule of the BJP government to make noise before the Assembly elections, Janata Dal (Secular) leader H.D. Kumaraswamy has said.

At the JD(S) women’s conference here on Saturday, Mr. Kumaraswamy targeted the Congress for what he called its “inefficiency as an Opposition party”.

“For the past 4.5 years, the Congress did not do anything as an Opposition party. It did not point out corruption of the BJP government or anti-poor policies.

“However, with elections approaching, the Congress has woken up from its Kumbhakarna-type sleep, and decided to take out padayathras,” he said.

Terming the subjects of the two padayatras – water irrigation and accountability – as “hypocritical”, the former Chief Minister said the issues traced their roots to the Congress administration in the State. “The Congress has promised to release Rs. 60 crore to revive the Brahmavar sugar factory if it comes to power. However, this factory and Mysugar factory in Mandya were closed during the Congress-led administration,” he said. Mr. Kumaraswamy took pot shots at Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Assembly Siddaramaiah alleging that his speeches were reminiscent of those given when he was part of the JD(S). “In 2004, when he was a part of JD(S), he promised to send Congress legislators found guilty in scams to jail. Now, as a Congress leader he is making the same speeches against the BJP leaders indicted in the illegal mining report,” he said.

He accused the Congress and the BJP of using communal issues – such as Hubli Idgah Maidan issue and the Datta Peetha - to split and gain vote banks, and for “colluding” to make a controversy out of the proposed Tipu Sultan university in Srirangapatna.

“No Muslim leader had submitted an application for a university to be named after Tipu. By proposing it, the Congress is trying to get Muslim votes, and by opposing it, BJP is trying to get Hindu votes,” he said.

Among the electoral promises delivered were increasing the monthly pension given to widows from Rs. 400 to Rs. 1,500, giving new mothers Rs. 5,000 a month to take care of the nutritional requirements of the child, Rs. 1,500 a month for girls who were not married and subsidy on fertilizers to the tune of Rs. 3,000 per tonne. Recounting his efforts before the polls,

Mr. Kumaraswamy expressed confidence in winning at least three seats in the district.

The women’s conference was preceded by a motorcycle rally.

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